Is Taj Mahal made of ivory-white marble changing its colour due to increasing pollution in surrounding areas? The Supreme Court has raised its concern over the issue and has asked the Centre and UP government to take the assistance of international experts to preserve the monument. It is feared that the white monument is turning brownish and greenish in colour. The Apex Court has asked the government to consult renowned experts from the country and abroad to preserve the historical monument.
The monument which survived the bomb threat from Japanese air attack during second world war is now facing threat of different sorts, that is, threats from environmental pollution on the banks of the Yamuna River including acid rain due to the Mathura Oil Refinery. Pollution has been a matter of grave concern for conservationists who feared that poor air quality will ultimately destroy world’s one of the seven wonders. In 2001, all the polluting units within the vicinity of Taj Mahal were ordered to be closed. However, the monument continues to reel under the onslaught of suspended particulate matter (spm) and sulphur dioxide (so2).
Advocate M C Mehta has been fighting a legal battle for the last three decades for preserving the monument. According to him both the Central and the state governments have failed in their duty to preserve the monument.
To help control the pollution, the government set up the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ), a 10,400-square-kilometre (4,000 sq mile) area around the monument where strict emissions standards are put in place. The Apex Court has been monitoring the environment concerns of the monument for the last 31 years after it was contended that growing pollution level in Agra posed serious danger to the Taj. It had restrained authorities from cutting down any tree in the TZZ. However, deterioration is continuing as indicated by the rise in spm and so2 levels.