Taj Mahal city of Agra to tackle air pollution

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 5 June 2019

Agra, a city frequented by many tourists drawn to the magnificent Taj Mahal, is also one of the most polluted in India.

India’s Supreme Court gave the government the directive to attend to the pollution crisis, and what follows is quite a comprehensive plan tackling various aspects of development and cleaning up the city.

According to the last census in 2011, Agra in the state of Uttar Pradesh is home to more than 1.5-million people. This, coupled with the tourist hordes, intent on seeing the Taj Mahal, can place a lot of strain on the infrastructure. Lately, however, the smog and air pollution has become so bad it’s even affecting the tourist throngs. The numbers have dropped quite significantly in the last few years. The imposing and iconic white Taj Mahal has also begun to discolour.

The discolouration and low-quality air is caused by a host of things, from vehicle and biomass emissions to crop residue, garbage and municipal solid waste disposal by burning. Industrial emissions, as well as construction and demolition has contributed to Agra’s sordid state. The government plans to tackle every one of these problems, however.

The idea, according to the United Nations, is to introduce 650 electric buses to address the issue of emissions, of which 100 buses have already been procured. Many entities in the private sector are keen to support this plan of action, and Massive Fund, a company that invests in areas affected by climate change, has proposed a R440-million project that aims to get rid of 90 per cent of Agra’s plastic waste problem.

‘This action plan is a decisive step forward in systematically combatting air pollution. Preventive actions and local-scale compliance enforcement tools, uniquely designed as agreement between local government and private sector, could contribute significantly to successful implementation of the plan and sustainability in the long term,’ said Atul Bagai, Head of UN Environment, India.

Image: Pixabay

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