The Effect of Air Pollution on the Taj Mahal

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The effect of air pollution on the Taj Mahal
As said by Mark Twain, ‘’ The world is split into two parts, those that have seen the Taj Mahal and those who have not’’. The Taj Mahal of Agra is one of the Seven Wonders of the World for reasons more than just looking magnificent. It’s the history of the Taj Mahal that adds a soul to its magnificence. It depicts a clear example of how deeply a man loved his wife, that even after she remained but a memory, he made sure that this memory would never fade away. This man was the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who was head-over-heels in love with his wife Mumtaz Mahal fig.1. She was a Muslim Persian princess and he was the son of a Mughal Emperor. It was at the age of 14 that he met Mumtaz and fell in
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The main causes of pollution are Iron foundries, Glass and Chemical industries within and around Agra. The major contributor to this effect was said to be the Mathura Oil Refinery fig4 which was commissioned in 1982. It is situated about 40km northwards from the Taj Mahal and is owned by the Indian Oil Corporation costing them Rs 253.92 crores to build the refinery 8. Sulphur dioxide is a major pollutant of refinery effluents, it is a toxic gas which in sunlight reacts with oxygen in the presence of water vapour forming acid rain which over long periods of times has been known to corrode marble and other building materials9, 10. The corrosion of the marble on the mausoleum is referred to by scientists as Marble Cancer 11. The first air quality survey in Agra was carried out by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute during 1976-1977 to survey the background levels of pollutants around the Taj Mahal. The impact of air pollution from the Mathura Refinery which started production in 1983 was widely debated in public as well as government due to concern for adequate pollution control measures. Significant pollution levels were noticed between October and March every year, and it showed that different seasons on the year had different variations in the concentrations of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. Results from this study showed that the 98th

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