Rapid rise in air pollution around the Taj Mahal

To ensure a clean enviornment around Taj Mahal and Agra Fort , millions of rupees have been spent to control the air and atmosphere however in a report released indicates that there has been an alarmingly rise in the levels of poisonous gases around both the heritage sites.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India released figures which alarmed conservationists and enviornmentalists and now are in strong demand to control traffic around the inciter’s of the site. The reports show that nitrogen and sulphur dioxide are to blame. Nitrogen levels are presently 28 micrograms per cubic metre although it was 14 micrograms per cubic metre while sulphur dioxide per cubic metre increased several folds.

The suspended particulate matter (SPM) has also gone up owing to the dry Yamuna riverbed and mining activity in the Bharatpur district.

There are over 100 small foundries in Agra and they have also played a significant part in the air pollution of the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort owing to the expulsion of sulphur oxide and particulate matter. However many of these foundries have installed wet scrubbers to control the air but have been unable to do so as most of them have operational problems. The main reason is due to limited supply of water and poor water quality. The foundries are now looking for other ways to maintain the quality of air they expel.

An oil refinery was built some 30 km away from the Taj Mahal and it released some 25-30 tons of sulphur dioxide daily. I do not know if this refinery still exists but it was reported that during October to March the sulphur dioxide would flow with the winds and reach Taj Mahal.

The Supreme Court has ordered several industrial activities in Agra to either shift or to close down there polluting factories or units round the Taj Trapezium.

It has been claimed that the main contributor to this air pollution is due to the use of diesel vehicles.Initially during 1985 there were 50,000 registered vehicles but now it has become 500,000.

I had an experience with a diesel-engine car and it was not good. I usedit for 2.5 years and sold it owing to pollution, too much black smoke was expelled, engine made too much noise, difficult to maintain. Anyway…

Another reason for the rise in pollution in the Taj Mahal has been the current decision of diverting the city traffic to the Yamuna Kinara road passing between the Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal.

On a daily basis thousands of buses, trucks and vehicles pass through this road polluting the atmosphere and has been created a disadvantage to this heritage site as many tourists are now irritant to such area.Although transport companies have defied orders to shift somewhere else. The district authorities tried to shift the Uttar Pradesh roadways bus stand from the Fort area to the new terminus on the Delhi-Agra highway however failed to do so.

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