Why Taj Mahal is turning Yellow and Green? – These are the reasons

Why Taj Mahal is turning Yellow and Green? - These are the reasons - Mythgyaan

Why Taj Mahal is turning Yellow and Green? Taj Mahal is the pride of India. It is an alarming situation. Let’s see the possible factors behind this.

It is an alarming situation that this exquisite monument is turning yellow and green. Recently, Supreme Court of India has raised its concern on this issues.

Earlier Taj Mahal was turning yellow and now greenish patches are developed on it.

Why is Taj Mahal turning green?

Why is Taj Mahal turning green?
Photo Credit: Abc.net

Greenish patches are developed on it due to the invasion of an insect called Chironomus Calligraphus (Geoldichironomus).

Taj Mahal is situated on the bank of river Yamuna. Around 52 drains are pouring waste directly into the river Yamuna. This makes the river so polluted that there is “excessive breeding” of the insects.

Chironomus Calligraphus - Taj Mahal - Mythgyaan
Chironomus Calligraphus

Also, the river has become stagnant just behind this white marble monument, that fishes that earlier kept insect populations in control are dying. This allows pests to proliferate in the river.

These insects excrete their waste materials on the walls of Taj Mahal which results in green patches.

As per ASI (Archeological Survey of India), these stains can be cleaned by washing and scrubbing but frequent scrubbing can take the polish off the marble.

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Reasons why Taj Mahal is turning yellow and brown?

1. Iron Staining:

The marble with which Taj Mahal is built does not exist in its pure form. It contains naturally occurring deposits of iron which gets oxidised either in the presence of O2 or water.

This results in rusting and thus the brownish and yellowish colour of Taj Mahal.

Even the iron dowels installed to repair the marble slabs get oxidised and rusted. As a result of this, a new layer of this rust gets deposited onto the marble of the Taj.

2. Improper Cleaning:

Due to the wear and tear in the marble, it becomes a dirt magnet, as its surface becomes rough. 

When improper cleaners are used, this dirt gets accumulated in the pores of the marble and results in the yellow colour of the stone.

3. Pollution:

Taj is also turning yellow due to the reaction of the pollutants present in the air. These pollutants are due to the emissions from the industries around the Taj.

Also, burning municipal waste, cow dung and other forms of waste releases particulate matter into the sky. These get deposited on the surface of the marble, resulting in the yellowish appearance of the marble. 

4. Polluted River Yamuna:

This is one of the major reasons of the discolouring of the Taj. The waste material instead of being segregated into industrial, hazardous and biomedical waste, is directly dumped into the drains and the sewers.

As earlier stated, these polluted drains, without any treatment lead to the river Yamuna.

5. Acid Rain:

The pH of normal rainwater is 5.6. When it drops below 5.6, the rain is termed as acid rain. The main causes of acid rain are the presence of high levels of oxides of sulphur and nitrogen in the air.

The presence of high levels of oxides of sulphur and nitrogen is due to various human activities.

This acid rain contains sulphuric acid which reacts with the calcium present in the white marble. This results in damage to this wonderful white monument.

In 1995, to protect Taj Mahal from acid rain, Government of India announced an action plan. This plan aims at cleaning the air in the “Taj Trapezium”. It refers to the areas around the Taj Mahal including towns of Agra, Mathura, Bharatpur and Firozabad.

As a result of this plan, around 2000 industries switched over to the use of natural gas or LPG instead of coal or oil.

6. A large number of Tourists:

Yes, a large number of tourists is responsible for the discolouration of the white marble.

Due to trotting (दौड़ना) and trudging (पैर घसीट कर चलना) around the marble by the visitors also cause wear and tear. Also, dust from the sweaty palms of these tourists gets incorporated onto the walls.  

Another reason is the increase in humidity level inside the building due to large crowd every single day in Taj Mahal. This leads to gradual discolouring of the walls. 

7. Lack of trees:

Trees have been cut in and around Agra in the name of development. The temperature in Agra remains very high during the summers and sometimes even reaches 50 degrees Celcius.

Without the natural obstruction of trees, hot dusty winds, due to their highly abrasive effects, damages the surface of the white marble.

Also, there are many wood-burning crematoriums near the Taj Mahal. Supreme Court of India has ordered the concerned authorities to either move these crematoriums or replace them with the electric powered one to reduce pollution to the monument.

The state government agreed, but due to the agitation and protests from the local people, the crematorium still has not been moved.

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What can be done to protect Taj Mahal?

1. Outside Help:

There are many historical monuments outside India that have been maintained pretty well. We can take help from the experts outside India for maintaining Taj Mahal.

2. Stop construction around Taj Mahal:

Taj Mahal is supposed to be a buffer zone. A buffer zone is simple an area separating two zones, usually created to enhance the protection of a specific conservation area (in our case “The Taj Mahal”).

However, Taj Mahal being a major tourist destination, there are numerous hotels and residential areas built around it.

This has raised the air pollution levels as well as pollution due to construction.

3. Mud Packs:

Mud Packs - Taj Mahal
Photo Credit – SocialStudiesForKids

In this, a layer of fullers earth mixed with water is applied on the surface of the walls and left for 24 hours or more to dry.

Once it dries, the surface is washed and mud is removed with distilled water to remove impurities present on the surface of the white marble.

4. Plant more trees:

Obviously planting more trees reduces pollution and protects Taj Mahal from hot dusty winds that cause damage to the surface of the white stone.

5. Cleaning river Yamuna:

Cleaning the river Yamuna has a direct impact on the condition of Taj Mahal. By relocating some of the factories, toxic waste going into the river can be reduced.

Write your suggestions in the comment section about how to protect India’s pride “The Taj Mahal”.