NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — India’s iconic Taj Mahal has been threatened in recent weeks by insect excrement — environmentalists say that bugs that have migrated from the polluted Yamuna river are now invading the 17th Century monument, leaving greenish-black patches of waste on its cherished marble walls.
It’s nothing new, over the years the monument has been attacked and threatened by pollution, construction, a crematorium and even bombs.
However, the insect called Chironomus Calligraphus, is turning the Taj Mahal green, says environmental activist DK Joshi. This is greatly concerning India, as this is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. It would be a huge pity for the many tourists who have spent their hard earned money on things like flights and injections for India not to be able to see the Taj Mahal at its finest.
He has filed a petition with the National Green Tribunal — a special tribunal set up by the government to mitigate environmental disputes — in which he writes the “explosive breeding” of the insects in the Yamuna river is impacting the image of the timeless monument.
“Fifty-two drains are pouring waste directly into the river and just behind the monument, Yamuna has become so stagnant that fish that earlier kept insect populations in check are dying. This allows pests to proliferate in the river,” Joshi said.
Luckily, the stains left from the insects are washable, and workers from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have been trying to scrub the walls clean. But Joshi says too much scrubbing could remove the sheen from the building’s marble.
Instead, he offers a much simpler solution — disinfect the Yamuna.
On Monday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav ordered officials to “trace the factors behind the problem and find a solution.”
In the interim, workers have been attempting restoration by applying “mud packs” on its walls to draw out the pollutants.
Manoj Bhatnagar of the ASI’s chemical department said the mud-pack is based on a traditional recipe used by Indian women who wanted to retain a natural glow to their faces during ancient times. “A layer of fullers earth – a type of lime-rich clay – mixed with water is applied over the walls and left on for 24 hours or more to dry,” he said.
“Once it dries, the mud is removed and the surface is washed with distilled water to remove impurities.”
The Taj Mahal’s precious marble has received this treatment on multiple occasions — 1994, 2001, 2008 and 2014. Bhatnagar added the next step mud pack treatment process will begin once the weather cools a bit, the current heatwave sweeping across the country will dry out the pack too quickly and reduce its effectiveness.