On 16 May, the National Green Tribunal sought a reply from the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government on the issue of the insects who are attacking the iconic Taj Mahal. The rise in the number of insects has reportedly resulted in a change in the colour of the pristine white marble of the monument.
The rampant dumping of municipal solid waste in the Yamuna river near the monument has led to stagnation of water - which has resulted in the formation of greenish-black pigments on marble following the breeding of insects.
A bench, headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Uttar Pradesh government, the state pollution control board, the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority and others.
The order came on the plea of environment activist and Agra resident DK Joshi who has claimed that dumping of waste in Yamuna has led to stagnation of the river and "consequently the explosive breeding of an insect called 'Chironomus Calligraphus' (Geoldichironomus), which is a biological indicator of water quality and localised water pollution."
Referring to a report of the Archaeological Survey of India, the plea, filed through advocate Rahul Chaudhory, said that these insects are staining the walls of the Taj Mahal greenish-black.
"School of Entomology, St John's School, Agra did a preliminary report on the insect attack to the Taj Mahal and found that the presence of the insect was causing damage to the monument," the plea said while seeking that a committee be constituted to look into the problem to prevent further damage to the river and the UNESCO World Heritage Site monument.
The St John's School report also warns against the use of insect repellent on the monument walls.
--With PTI inputs