Pollution Threatens the Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the modern world and India’s greatest landmark, is in danger of being damaged by air and water pollution. Agra, where the Taj Mahal stands, has been polluted heavily by industries and traffic over the past decades. Illegal factories are springing up around the Taj Mahal and uncontrolled construction around the monument seems to be endless. Ground water levels are sinking because the population around Agra, a city of four million people, is growing and needs more and more water. The wooden foundations of the monument may collapse because they are becoming too dry.
The Yamuna River, which runs through Agra, is heavily polluted by industries around the capital Delhi, which is about hundred and fifty kilometers up the river.
At the end of the last century the government realized the growing problem and started a program to save the monument’s shiny white marble façade because it was turning yellow. Over $150 million were spent on restoration but it did not help much. Corrosion has continued and acid rain has also caused a change in the color of the façade. Some years ago restoration experts started putting mud packs around the façade to bring back the building’s shiny white color.
The government and city authorities have taken measures to protect India’s greatest sight. Pollution stations around Agra monitor air quality around the clock. Car traffic has been banned within two kilometers of the monument. Electric and battery driven cars and buses then take tourists to the site. A natural gas pipeline is also in discussion. Factories and industries around Agra should be persuaded to change to cleaner forms of energy.
Each year about 3 million tourists come to the Taj Mahal. The building was built by a Mogul emperor in the 17 th century. It took over 20,000 workers 17 years to finish it.
- authorities = the people who are in control of a certain area or district
- ban = forbid
- battery-driven = powered by a battery
- capital = city in which the government is
- century = a hundred years
- collapse = break down
- construction = building
- damage = destroy
- decade = a hundred years
- emperor = king or queen who rules over many countries
- endless = without end
- facade = the front of a large, important building
- factory = building where products are made
- foundation = the cement and bricks under a building that support it and help make it stand
- government = the people who rule the country
- heavily =very much
- illegal = against the law
- in discussion = talked about
- landmark = well-known sight
- level = how high something is
- marble = hard rock that becomes smooth when you polish it; it is used for making buildings
- measure = action
- Mogul = member of a family of Muslims who ruled northern India from the 16 th to the 19 th centuries
- monitor = watch, observe
- mud pack = wet sticky earth
- natural gas = gas that is used as a fuel
- persuade = convince; to try to make someone do something because you think it is right
- pollute = to make air and water dirty
- protect = save, guard
- realize = understand
- restoration = to repair an old, famous monument or building and make it look the same as when it was first built
- shiny = smooth and bright
- sink = go down
- spring up = emerge, come up