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Taj Mahal turning into brown due to pollution.

Taj Mahal Discoloration: First Scientific Study Blames it on Carbon Pollution, What Next?

A joint study of Indian and American archaeologists have attributed the dusty coloured Taj Mahal to air pollution, which is not new but a scientific study pointing out dangers to one of the wonders of the world from environmental angle.

Reserchers of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology led by Prof. Michael Bergin said the pollutants discoloring the Taj Mahal are carbon particules emanating from burning biomass and refuse, fossil fuels, and dust — all from the daily occurence of heavy traffic around the marble monument.

The study was co-partnered by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur, and also the University of Wisconsin. The study was done based on their study of pollutants impacting some marble patches on the front dome of Taj Mahal from November 2011 to June 2012.

Taj Mahal turning into brown due to pollution.

Taj Mahal turning into brown due to pollution.

Built by Mughal emperor Shah Japahan between 1600 and 1636, the Taj Mahal is a monumental tribute in marbles to his wife Mumtaz. The huge architectural dome measures 115 feet in height with minarets standing further high at 130 feet.

Though the Taj Mahal gets millions of visitors annually, its declaration in 1983 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site never caused any damage but the tall standing building in the midst of agricultural lands and a dried Yamuna river behind has been the cause of concern for architectural engineers from many angles, both environmental and constructional.

The discoloration has been visibly seen since the last half-a-century. The current study was based on
small specimens of original marble onto the Taj Mahal, which were analyzed for the air pollutants for over two months with the help of a microscope. The analysis studied the collection of particles and polutants on these marble specimens.

Another study revealed few years ago that the weak foundation along the river Yamuna may also pose threat to the monument but pending scientific study on logs used for the foundation base, a comprehensive and scientific study should be undertaken by the global researchers.

One comment

  1. Right! I noticed this discoloration 27 years back when I visited the Taj. When was a refinery or some kind of manufacturing facility set up river from the Taj? Were those who gave government approval for this at that time dumb enough not to know this or corrupt enough to approve knowing of such potential irreparable damage to this important national monument?

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