IIT-Kan­pur to study na­ture of Taj pol­lu­tants

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Nation - Jayashree Nandi let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com ■

NEWDELHI: The Cen­tral Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Board (CPCB) has com­mis­sioned IIT-Kan­pur to con­duct a source-ap­por­tion­ment study and chem­i­cal spe­ci­a­tion (chem­i­cal char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion) of air pol­lu­tion dam­ag­ing the Taj Ma­hal.

The study will be sub­mit­ted to CPCB af­ter a month. Pro­fes­sor Mukesh Sharma of the de­part­ment of civil en­gi­neer­ing at IITKan­pur will lead the study that will use air mass sam­ples from CPCB’s Taj Ma­hal sta­tion to study the na­ture of the dom­i­nant par­tic­u­late mat­ter and gases around the iconic mau­soleum. Data from the sta­tion, set up in 2002, will be used to iden­tify the source and di­rec­tion the pol­lu­tants are com­ing from.

The as­sess­ment will in­clude sources of air pol­lu­tion that have not been stud­ied be­fore, such as the na­ture of the Ya­muna riverbed dust or the gases em­a­nat­ing from the river that is highly con­tam­i­nated with sewage.

Road dust and emis­sions from trans­port and in­dus­tries in the Taj Trapez­ium zone, an area of about 10,400 sq km cov­er­ing parts of UP and Bharat­pur in Ra­jasthan, will also be stud­ied as sources of pol­lu­tion.

“If Taj Ma­hal goes once, you will not get a sec­ond chance,” a Supreme Court bench com­pris­ing Jus­tices S Ab­dul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta had said re­cently. The apex court, which is hear­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal lawyer MC Me­hta’s pe­ti­tion for pro­tec­tion of In­dia’s most iden­ti­fi­able his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ment, is mon­i­tor­ing the main­te­nance of Taj Ma­hal. Sharma’s team has started ex­am­in­ing sam­ples from Taj Ma­hal sta­tion dur­ing the sum­mer months, when pol­lu­tion is higher than dur­ing the rains.

Ac­cord­ing to the Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey of In­dia (ASI), there is no doubt that the con­di­tion of Taj is de­te­ri­o­rat­ing be­cause of air pol­lu­tion.

“We are re­spon­si­ble for the Taj Ma­hal from a struc­tural point of view but there are var­i­ous is­sues that af­fect it, es­pe­cially poor air qual­ity,” said ASI spokesper­son, DN Dimri. An­other her­itage ex­pert from ASI who de­clined to be named said the prob­lem is acute in sum­mer. “In­sects from the sewage crawl on the Taj and leave their ex­cre­ment, lead­ing to yel­low­ish patches,” said Dimri. “Air pol­lu­tion lev­els in Agra are com­pa­ra­ble with Delhi. The Taj will not be able to with­stand the im­pact of these two sources,” he said.A team from IIT Kan­pur and Ge­or­gia In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy in At­lanta had pub­lished a study on the ef­fect of par­tic­u­late pol­lu­tion on the Taj in 2014. “We had taken par­tic­u­late mat­ter mea­sure­ments for one year and found that par­tic­u­lates, par­tic­u­larly car­bona­ceous PM, was caus­ing dis­coloura­tion of Taj,” said SN Tri­pathi, pro­fes­sor at the Cen­tre for En­vi­ron­men­tal Science and En­gi­neer­ing at IIT Kan­pur, and one of the au­thors of the 2014 study.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.