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One of India’s most renowned and bewitching sights, the Taj Mahal has battled with various assaults and neglect for the last 350 years. However, this mesmerising marble monument that is situated in Agra, Northern India, is to fend off the blows from contemporary foes: air and water pollution.

The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan who sought to eternalize his beloved spouse, Mumtaz Mahal. This eloquent piece of history, however has since then been degraded and plagued with a variety of hues of warm tones of greens, yellows and browns. 

The Supreme Court of India has asked the government of Uttar Pradesh to “shut down the Taj or demolish it or...restore it”. Local authorities and such have also been contacted in the past few months pertaining to the increasing discoloration. Thus prompting the question of why is the Taj Mahal slowly decaying?

The earliest symptoms of this gradual discoloration were prevalent since when the Indian government founded a committee to investigate this issue. The cause was determined to be industrial pollution, which has worsened with time.

According to the World Health Organization, the amount of municipal waste manifesting in the form of air pollution has ranked Agra the eighth most polluted city on earth. The resulting smoke in-turn leaves traces of soot on the marble, leaving behind a greyish hue. Other compounds of carbon also attack the Mahal and leave behind yellowish-brown tinges. 

Furthermore, crematoriums as old as 200 years nearby the Taj Mahal also emit smoke as of the wood pyres used and thus aiding the already terrible affliction. Industrialisation, particularly the bane of oil refinery emissions and waste also contribute to the erosion of the exterior of the once beautiful and enchanting Taj Mahal.

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