Insect Droppings Threaten to Turn India’s Taj Mahal Green
Taj Mahal has endured attacks from all sides since its completion in 1654, it was attacked by the Jats, defaced by the British army and stained by air pollution. Now a new threat has been identified: insect excrement.
Swarms of insects breeding in a polluted river near the Taj Mahal are threatening the intricate marble inlay work at the 17th century monument to love by leaving green and black patches of waste on its walls, archaeological experts said on Monday.
“A series of marble panels depicting plant motifs on the walls or reflective tiles used in this part of the monument are becoming disfigured,” Vikram said.
Authorities are looking for a permanent solution to the problem created by the insects, a type of elongated fly that resemble a mosquito, that are proliferating in the polluted Yamuna river. The river has stagnated to the point that it no longer supports fish that once kept the insects in check, environmentalist Yogesh Sharma said.
In addition, heavy algal growth and deposits of phosphorus from ash dumped by a nearby cremation ground “are the primary source of food for this particular species of insect”, said Girish Maheshwari, who heads the Department of Entomology at St John’s College in the northern city of Agra.
The Taj Mahal, one of India’s most cherished tourist attractions, brings millions of visitors to Agra every year. Archeologists are also struggling to protect the monument from air pollution, which turns the marble yellow and brown.
Indian authorities have made various attempts to protect the monument including banned coal power generation from surrounding areas after smoke was blamed for yellowing the white marble.
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Source: The Telegraph