India's greatest treasure, the Taj Mahal, escaped serious damage from the recent heavy flooding in Northern India.
GV Taj Mahal.
LV Belching smoke stacks from power stations in surrounding rural and industrial area of Taj Mahal. (6 SHOTS)
GV OF Taj Mahal through tunnel ZOOM IN TO palace.
GV Surrounding buildings on grounds of palace PAN TO Taj Mahal.
CU AND TILT UP OF Ornamental tower.
GV OF People on grounds of palace TILT UP TO dome. (2 SHOTS)
CU & PAN Hand points to damage in white marble caused by pollution. (3 SHOTS)
GV New site for oil refinery from roadside as traffic passes ZOOM INTO GV OF oil refinery works. (2 SHOTS)
CU ZOOM OUT TO SV Tourists photographing Taj Mahal.
CU AND PAN Intricate engraving on building.
SV OF Tourists PULL OUT TO GV OF Taj Mahal.
MONCKTON:"The latest threat to the Taj Mahal and the most serious so far is also man-made. Some experts have estimated that uncontrolled pollution could cause the Taj to crumble away within a decade. Throughout Northern India, power stations are coal-fired and dirty. Until very recently they have been springing up without environmental impact studies to meet the demands of new industrial growth centres from Delhi to Agra, to town of the Taj, and further along the Northern Gangetic Plain. the magnificent mausoleum built by Shah Jahan 300 years ago, in memory of his wife Mumtaz, has shown more wear in the last decade then in its first 30. An expert environmental committee in a report just tabled in the Indian Parliament has warned of the danger, and has called for the complete shut-down of two power stations nearby, the closure of some Agra industrial plants and the relocation of others. The brilliant white marble and the red sandstone of the Taj Mahal is being attacked by stone cancer, a term used to describe the disintegration of the fine calcium carbonate crystals which hold the marble together. It's caused by sulphur pollutants, which, when mixed with the moisture of the atmosphere turns to destructive sulphuric acid. Environmentalists want to stop the construction of a new oil refinery 40 kms up-wind. The government hasn't made a final decision, but has taken pollution control studies out of the hands of the state oil corporation and given it to an independent agency. The move hasn't placated those who say that India is in danger of losing one of the last of the great wonders of the world. Peter Monckton in Agra for ABC News.
REPORTER: PETER MONCKTON
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: India's greatest treasure, the Taj Mahal, escaped serious damage from the recent heavy flooding in Northern India. At the height of the floods, the marble monument was surrounded by more than four metres (12 feet) of water. Since then work has begun to divert the flow of the Jumna River, which runs nearby. However, the Taj Mahal faces a more serious long term threat -- industrial pollution. Fumes from surrounding industrial centres are eating into the delicate facade of the structure. Experts have warned that this trend will soon become irreversible unless some emergency action is taken. A report from Peter Monckton of the ABC.