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Air Pollution Is Defiling Several Iconic Indian Monuments

April 20, 2015 12:49 PM |

Air Pollution India MonumentsPollution woes continue to haunt India and are now ‘monumental’, in the literal sense. The impact of air pollution has been felt on the Taj Mahal and has been a topic of discussion since years. But it has been found that toxic air is ruining several other popular and iconic monuments across India. The list includes some globally admired structures. As per a study carried out by Vardhaman College of Engineering, India spends as much as $45 billion due to corrosion of infrastructure.

Over the years, Taj Mahal’s stunning white marble exterior has been turning brownish-yellow due to deposition of carbon and dust particles. These are pollutants released into the air due to excessive burning of fossil fuels, garbage, and biomass. But we’ve all heard the Taj Mahal story and how Agra’s air pollution is plaguing one of the most celebrated monuments across the world. The most recent learnings, however, are even more frightening.

In Delhi, another exquisite white-marbled structure is suffering due to rising air pollution. The iconic Lotus Temple, which was built in 1986, is also perishing despite regular maintenance. As per the National Green Tribunal, the beautiful snow white temple may turn greyish in a few years. NGT also stated that the main cause for the structure’s poor state were emissions from nearby traffic, burning rubber and plastic, gas emissions from a nearby plant, and fly ash.

The onslaught of air pollution has also reached the busy bazaars of Hyderabad. The city’s most iconic structure, the famous Charminar, is also wilting under the influence of settling dust and vehicular emissions. The 400-year-old towering landmark is experiencing blackening and moderate peeling due to air pollution.

In 2013, a joint study conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology (Delhi) and the Punjab Pollution Control Board led to findings which shook everyone. The study concluded that industrial discharge into the air, vehicular emissions, and even tandoors (ovens) of local restaurants were contributing towards the discoloration of the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The golden plates which give the temple its amazing look were experiencing discoloration at the hands of air pollution.

As per a study carried out by Vardhaman College of Engineering, India spends as much as $45 billion due to corrosion of infrastructure. The study also reveals that building materials like steel, limestone, and marble are most sensitive to air pollution. All these iconic structures, and several others, hold historical, cultural, religious, and emotional value. It would be a shame if we let air pollution damage these monuments beyond repair. Measures have been taken to reduce the impact of air pollution on these sites. But there’s always more that can be done to save the legacy attached to these landmark buildings.

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