India's Taj Mahal, an Ivory White-colored marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna River, has changed color through the past years due to pollution.
The extent of the damage brought by contaminants reached a point where India's Supreme Court has gotten involved in the matter.
Foreign Expertise Needed
In a court session earlier this month, authorities highlighted how the color of the world heritage site has already turned yellow in the past years and most recently has been changing to brown and green.
The palace, built in the 17th century, has been enduring the impacts of pollution, constructions nearby, and fecal matters from insects, which are living in the sewage of Yamuna River. The latter is of particular concern since the insects are now spreading at the palace's wall as well. They are leaving patches of greenish-black fecal matters on the marble walls of Taj Mahal.
These findings were highlighted in photographs submitted to justices Madan Lokur and Deepak Gupta.
India's Supreme Court calls for the local government to seek foreign expertise to save the palace from further destruction. The court describes the Taj Mahal's decline in color as worrisome. It called out India's local government for not utilizing its own expertise or perhaps for being simply unconcerned about the palace's regression.
The Supreme Court has scheduled another round of hearing on May 9.
Why Is Taj Mahal Changing Color?
The problem, now being highlighted in court, has already been the subject of criticism against India's government in 2016.
At the time, environmental activists had already raised concerns about the insects invading the Yamuna River. The insects have been identified as Chironomus calligraphus.
At the time, activist DK Joshi lodged a petition in the National Green Tribunal, asserting that the propagation of the insects is destroying the beauty of the world heritage site.
The insects' stains are actually washable. However, the amount and frequency of scrubbing needed to clean the waste had also been contributing damage to the walls. A mixture similar to facial mudpacks in larger quantity was also used to clean the walls but it caused damage as well.
The species are ecologically important aquatic insects but can become pests when they come together in extremely high numbers. They become particularly a nuisance when they invade man-made locations.
In 2012, the insects caused significant economic impact when it was first detected in a wastewater lake at an industrial site in coastal Georgia.