It has been soaked in acid rain, covered in soot from industrial and home chimneys, and degraded by contaminants in the atmosphere. These pollutants, which include sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and mostly carbon-based particles, have gradually corroded and damaged the Taj's beautiful white front, giving it a yellow shine.
The acidity of the water that permeates the palace causes its stone to dissolve, and the calcium, sodium, and other acids present in the water etch away at the rock, causing it to crumble. The vegetation growing on the banks of the river are also responsible for adding acid to the water, helping to destroy the Taj over time.
An image of the Taj Mahal taken in 2016 shows a significant amount of damage due to acid rain. The delicate plaster decorations on the façade are all but destroyed, while large areas of the marble surface have been removed by acidic waters coming into contact with natural fissures in the rock.
In addition to being exposed to air pollution, the Taj Mahal is also vulnerable to flooding. In 2013, heavy rains caused the River Yamuna to overflow its banks, washing away parts of the surrounding landscape and damaging the monument. This recent incident was likely due to changes in local climate conditions: researchers have identified a correlation between periods of intense rainfall and increases in acidity of up to one percent in the water that flows through the city.
These pollutants, which include sulfur dioxide, NOx emissions, and mostly carbon-based particles, have gradually corroded and degraded the Taj's beautiful white exterior, leaving it with a yellow shine. Carbon-dioxide emissions from vehicles driving by the monument contribute to the corrosion as well.
The dangers of air pollution are many, but one of the most alarming effects is its contribution to global warming. The great amount of fuel that goes into producing traffic fumes and other gases that cause air quality problems means they play a part in something called "carbon dioxide emissions" from cars and trucks. These emissions result in the deterioration of parkland and wildlife habitat, affect the ability of clouds to form, and lead to more frequent heatwaves and floods. Air pollution also causes an estimated 9 million deaths per year, so it is not just a problem for tourists visiting famous monuments like the Taj Mahal.
In 2016, leaders from around the world met in Paris at a conference to discuss ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help mitigate the effects of climate change. One of the main topics of discussion was how to fund efforts to combat climate change and energy poverty - countries without sufficient access to electricity. It was agreed that donations from governments and businesses should go towards funding energy efficiency projects and improving rural infrastructure.
Pollution in the open Indeed, acid rain is caused by the unintentional release of sulfuric oxide caused by vehicle traffic. This rain turns the Taj Mahal yellow, tarnishing it. Worse, it erodes it, hitting the most delicate parts first: the stone carvings and incrustations.
The effects of acid rain are not limited to the aesthetic. The acidic water causes damage to the marble, making it vulnerable to future attacks. It can also lead to structural damage if the stone begins to dissolve.
In addition to vehicle traffic, industrial emissions are other sources of air pollution. These come from factories and power plants and include carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and fine particles. Air pollution has been shown to be harmful to humans, causing respiratory problems and premature death. It also has an impact on animals, changing their genetic makeup and potentially having irreversible effects on species survival.
To protect this world heritage site, please use public transportation or don't drive your car at all. If you have to travel by car, try to keep an adequate distance between you and the vehicle in front. Try to avoid driving during periods of high pollution, and only go when the wind is blowing in another direction.
And lastly, learn about the other natural wonders in India! The Taj Mahal is just one of many amazing sites in this incredible country.