No respite for Taj

Published: Monday 15 April 2002

Mausoleum misery: slow poisoni despite the closure of polluting units in its vicinity from December 31, 2001, the Taj continues to reel under the onslaught of suspended particulate matter (spm) and sulphur dioxide (so2). According to the latest data of the Archaeological Survey of India (asi), the spm was 286.3 microgrammes per cubic metre on December 10, 2001. But on January 9, 2002, even after the closure of all industries, the spm level was as high as 522.8 microgrammes per cubic metre. Likewise, the so2 level in the air was 21.3 microgrammes per cubic metre on December 9, 2001, while it was recorded at 23 microgrammes per cubic metre on January 8, 2002. Experts believe the levels of both the pollutants might not have come down due to the pollution load of the Mathura Oil Refinery. The rise in spm and so2 levels has also been caused because of the heavy vehicles going via Agra. The recommendations of the Vardarajan Committee, appointed by the Supreme Court to look into Taj pollution, remain unimplemented as a result of which the structure stands at peril.

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