Air Pollution in Agra

Many cities in India have crossed the limits of suspended particulate matter, sulphur dioxide and other pollutants due to vehicular and industrial emissions. Agra, the city with three World Heritage monuments, has also it's share in such mis-happenings. The monument lovers through public interest petitions have achieved a breakthrough in the Apex Court which has given judgements, decisions and even got inspection conducted to control the environmental pollution, encroachments and possible elements which are detrimental to preservation of Taj Mahal.

  1. To create a green buffer zone, the tree plantation around Taj has been given priority to reduce pollution. Thousands of tree plantation exercises have been undertaken by the forest department, Archaeological Survey of India and Uttar Pradesh department of gardens.
  2. Agra city has a population of 1.2 million and gets about 1.8 million tourists annually. Agra city and the surrounding area have about 5.5 million people and attracts about 7 million pilgrims & tourists annually. This entire area is called Taj Trapezium. With the court orders, all brick kilns which are coal based have been closed to control pollution. Though the brick cost has gone up by more than 2.5 times in the recent past, the exercise is worthwhile for better preservation of this wonder of the world.
  3. Some of unauthorized structures and high structures are being dismantled around Taj as a result of the court order. Even the police station has not been spared.
  4. The refinery, about 40 km from Taj, has been fined in first instance for delay of implementation of pollution measures but subsequently it has been ordered to build a hospital for pollution patients. The court has also ordered the refinery to reduce the emission of pollutants.
  5. In a recent judgement, 292 coal-based industrial units have been asked to switch to gas-based fuel or close down by the 30th of April 1997.
  6. Many industrial units have already faced closure of operation in the absence of installing the anti-pollution measures as ordered.
  7. To protect the inlay work, railing barricades have been erected in the main mausoleum of Taj.
  8. The general cleanliness of Agra city has been ordered.
  9. The vehicles are being strictly checked for pollution.
  10. The vehicular traffic around Taj has been banned. The parking is kept at a safe distance.
  11. Battery operated buses are plying from Taj to take visitors to short distance to make their travel less tiring but without pollution.
  12. Declaring Agra as a heritage city has been taken up in the court and the judgement in this respect is expected in the near future. [*]
  13. Inspection for implementation of time bound programme for all above are being done by high-level teams sponsored by the Apex Court to assess the implementation of it's judgements and observations.


Lynn Garry Salmon <>{