The National Green Tribunal has asked the Centre to respond to the plea of an environment enthusiast alleging that largescale burning of municipal solid waste in Agra was turning the Taj Mahal yellow.
The green panel also restrained civic authorities from burning municipal solid waste and other waste in open in Agra and the areas around the eco-sensitive Taj Trapezium Zone.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to Ministry of Environment & Forests, Ministry of Urban Development, Uttar Pradesh government, Central Pollution Control Board and others while seeking their reply in two weeks.
The order came on a plea filed by Agra resident and green activist D K Joshi, who claimed a joint study by IIT-Kanpur, Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Wisconsin had revealed that "brown and black carbons along with dust" were responsible for giving yellow tinge to the 17th century white marble monument.
"Subsequent to the report, the parliamentary standing committee on environment passed several directions to the Agra administration to curb pollution in the city. According to a study carried out by Ajay Nagpure, the burning of MSW releases a high amount of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), which is responsible for damaging the aesthetics of a culturally important monument, like the Taj Mahal," the plea, filed through advocate Rahul Choudhary, said.
It said that one of the major threats to the Taj Mahal was the high level of particulate matter (PM) which was being released into air due to large scale burning of municipal solid waste (MSW) in the city.
The plea contends that civic bodies in Agra were blatantly violating Solid Waste Management Rules as more than 2000 metric tonnes of solid waste per day was being dumped in various part of the city besides plastic waste which was being consumed by stray animals.
"It is submitted that respondents are not segregating industrial, hazardous and bio-medical waste from Municipal Solid Waste and the same is being dumped in various parts of Agra for the last several years.
"The drains and canals have been converted into sewer lines which fall directly into River Yamuna without any treatment by the various authorities including Nagar Nigam Agra, Agra Development Authority, Cantonment Board and areas falling under the TTZ Authority," the plea said.