Enviornment Prelims cum Mains

In U.P., plans to save the Taj Mahal


  • Earlier in July, this year, the Uttar Pradesh government submitted a draft Vision document in the Supreme Court outlining its plan to conserve Taj Mahal.


Background: A timeline

  • In 1984, a petition was moved in the apex court to save the Taj.
  • In 1996, the SC urged the Centre to protect the listed monument to come up with an action plan.
  • Further an area of 10,400 sq km around the Taj was declared Taj Trapezium Zone covering six districts of UP; Agra, Mathura, Firozabad, Hatras and Etah and one in Rajasthan; Bharatpur.
  • The Court directed closing down all polluting factories in Taj Trapezium Zone and rejuvenating the Yamuna River.
  • The Taj Protection Mission was set up as a joint venture between Uttar Pradesh government and the Centre in 1996, based on a Supreme Court order.
  • In 2015, a Parliamentary Standing Committee report stressed the vulnerability of air pollution to discolouration of Taj.
  • Despite repeated warning about the discolouration of the monument, there is lack of coordination between different agencies.
  • Thus Supreme Court in July again fired at the Central government and State government for neglecting Taj Mahal.


Highlights of the UP’s draft Vision Document

  • The document covers environmental planning, urban planning, transport and heritage conservation.
  • It identifies measures at 3 levels namely TTZ, Agra city and Taj precincts.



Taj precincts

  • Declaring Taj precincts as a no-plastic zone.
  • Banning the use of bottled water inside the monument.
  • The historic gardens within the monument boundary need to be replaced with authentic plant species based on evidence from archival sources.


City level Measures

  • Restricting the increase in polluting and private vehicles.
  • Promote Electric vehicles to decrease their environmental footprint
  • Promotion of e-rickshaws run on lithium-ion batteries.
  • Pedestrian-friendly walkways


Taj Trapezium Zone

  • Closure of polluting industries in the Taj Trapezium Zone.
  • Ban on construction on the Yamuna Flood Plains.
  • River edges must be cleared from the accumulated solid waste
  • No untreated sewage discharge should be allowed.
  • Promotion of small-scale cottage industries.
  • Entry and exit of vehicles run on fossil fuel should be restricted in the TTZ.


Mains reasons behind Discolouration of Taj

  • Naturally, marble which become oxidized over time leads to the browning of these mineral.
  • Air pollution due to burning of fuel, biomass and garbage is turning white marble dome and minarets into brownish yellow.
  • Suspended particulate matter (SPM) level has been a crucial contributor in the corrosion.
  • Polluting industries and the vehicular emissions in the Taj Trapezium Zone
  • Insect and algae infestation on the Taj Mahal due to polluted banks of Yamuna river.
  • Recently the white marble structure was found to be developing greenish-black patches as a result of the release of faeces and dirt by an insect identified as Geoldichironomus.

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