Researchers from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering have found burning trash around the Taj Mahal is not only a major factor in the monument’s discoloration, it’s contributing to hundreds of premature deaths each year. The new study, published Oct. 7 in the journal Environmental Research Letters, builds on previous work that led local communities to ban burning of cow dung cakes, a common cooking fuel.
Last year, School of Civil and Environmental Engineers pinned the yellowing and browning of the Taj Mahal on air pollution — specifically airborne carbon particles and dust. Now they’ve found one of the primary sources of those pollutants: large-scale open burning of garbage.
The Taj Mahal’s iconic marble dome and soaring minarets require regular cleaning to maintain their dazzling appearance, and scientists now know why. Researchers from the United States and India are pointing the finger at airborne carbon particles and dust for giving the gleaming white landmark a brownish cast.