Court ordered protection for world famous monument

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Pollution and insect droppings have tainted the walls of the iconic Taj Mahal, prompting India’s Supreme Court to intervene. It’s given a restore or demolish order to the Government, saying it has failed to protect the 17th Century monument.

Around 70,000 visitors a day flock to the monument to love, littering its surrounds and wearing away its marble. The city of Agra, where the Taj Mahal is, was rated by the World Health Organisation as the globe’s 8th most polluted city. The rubbish clogged waterways are a breeding ground for mosquito-type bugs which produce a slime which is turning parts of the Taj’s shiny white marble hues of sickly green and yellow. Industrial pollution has added black and brown stains and state caretakers are struggling to keep the building clean.

The Supreme Court said both the federal and state government had shown “lethargy” in taking steps to tackle the monument’s deteriorating condition. It’s ordered officials to seek foreign help to fix the “worrying change in colour” of the monument.

 The Taj Mahal is to be protected from litter and pollution - under court orders.

The Taj Mahal is to be protected from litter and pollution - under court orders.

The government says it’s already shut down thousands of factories nearby, but activists says the marble is still losing lustre.

In response the Government’s now pledged to make the Taj Mahal and 100 other monuments litter-free. India’s Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Mahesh Sharma, says “with our pledge India is sending a message to the world that we can beat plastic pollution. We are committed to making the peripheries of 100 historic monuments in India litter free.”

Some of the commitments include: making the areas around the Taj Mahal up to a limit of 500 metres around the monument litter free, segregating plastic waste generated near the monument for recycling, encouraging ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ tourism, and launching mass consumer awareness campaigns about the negative impacts of single-use plastics thereby changing consumption patterns in the city.

 Caretakers have been struggling to clean pollutants from the Taj Mahal.

Caretakers have been struggling to clean pollutants from the Taj Mahal.

In addition, the Supreme Court’s also advocating for a switch to electric and hydrogen vehicles for the area’s residents, as well as replacing the lawns with tree cover as they used to be when the Taj Mahal was originally built.

“The Taj Mahal is a globally-recognised symbol of the beauty of India, so it’s all the more important that Agra sends a message around the world that enough is enough when it comes to the ugliness of plastic pollution,” says Erik Solheim, head of the United Nations Environment. “Taking action is about keeping the beauty of our planet intact.”

The Taj Mahal was built by a 17th century emperor in memory of his beloved Queen who died in childbirth.

Watch the video below from the United Nations about the steps being taken to protect the Taj Mahal.