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Anti-Pollution Campaign – India – Agra

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Agra’s Pollution Crackdown



‘Agra Launching an Anti-Pollution Campaign’ was reported in the Indian Online Newspaper Sindh Today, they reported that the campaign was being launched ahead of the World Environment Day – June 5th at the city of The Taj Mahal. They reported that the person in charge of the campaign is Agra Divisional Commisioner S.K. Sharma, who has to work on the problem of polluting waste water and sewage being pumped through bore holes. As Agra has so many tourists, most of whom stay in local hotels – there is a lot of travelling and this adds to the general dust and smog pollution caused by a traffic filled city.



Sindh Today quoted a monitoring committee member D.K. Joshi as saying “The Agra Development Authority has been recklessly clearing layout plans and site construction maps of colonies and complexes without bothering to investigate whether sewer line connections were available or proper waste water treatment facilities existed.”



Mr Joshi is a citizen of Agra and what the online newspaper did not report is that the committee was put in place by a governmental apex court! It seems the Agra Development Authority aren’t helping with the conservational effort by Commissioner Sharma and Mr Joshi as there are construction plans for buildings around the monument. Mr Joshi has recently said to ‘Indo Asian News’ “Instead of clearing up population clusters, the Agra Development Authority has gone on a house building spree with Taj phase one, two and now three. Instead of trees you see only concrete structures all around the Taj Mahal.”  



Positively what The Sindh did not report is that there are many other things being done to crackdown on pollution, these include battery charged golf-carts for tourists visiting what has been called ‘The monument of Love’ and re-introducing carelessly polluting monkeys to a jungle near ‘Bah’, 70 km away from the city – as locals and tourists often provide the monkeys with food adding to the pollution. The re-introduction is due to the state animal husbandry department with the support of a businessman called Mukesh Jain.



This is not the only example of food pollution, the online newspaper reported that local traders of Agra’s famous ‘petha’ (pumpkin), who make money from the tourist industry have been asked to move, this was because The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) identified more than 400 petha units in Agra which were polluting water bodies and creating air pollution by dumping petha waste just about anywhere.” Whether the local petha trade and the traders will be affected remains to be seen, and will they now start polluting in the Yamuna River where they have been moved opposite – the authorities and the government will have to find a solution.



An aim of the campaign is to preserve one of the Seven Wonders of The World which they have previously tried to preserve by using mud on The Taj Mahal called Multani mitti – Fuller’s earth; this did not work on preserving the appearance, instead causing a difference in the shades of white, clearly visible. Air pollution has been a main cause in discolouring the Taj Mahal.



An Indian website called ClickIndia.com offers a City Guide to Agra and advises politely and respectfully “Don’t scribble on the walls or spoil the monuments in any way. Do not throw litter in the parks and gardens.” It has recently been reported by IANS that “the green belt around the Taj has been made into commercial space with land allotted to hotels.” There is a lack of trees around the Taj and the saplings that were planted, did not survive. A lot more has to be done for Agra to be a pleasant and un-polluted experience for content tourists and locals; the campaign continues with a lack of monkeys and petha traders.

Written by Raj

June 23, 2009 at 6:29 am

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