India’s supreme court has declared that preservation of the Taj Mahal from environmental degradation is a “hopeless cause”.
Responding to a public-interest petition by an environmental activist concerned over the deteriorating state of one of the world’s seven wonders, the two-judge bench castigated the authorities for not acting quickly enough to protect the 17th-century white marble monument.
“Eighty million people [annually] visit the Eiffel Tower, which looks like a TV tower,” the judges told India’s federal government and the administration in Uttar Pradesh state, where the Taj is located.
In January the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which manages the Taj, capped the number of local visitors to it at 40,000 per day, largely for environmental reasons and also to prevent stampede-like situations that occur frequently across India wherever large crowds congregate.
According to the ASI an average of 35,000 people daily visit the Taj, but this more than doubles at the weekend and on holidays, often topping some 75,000 people.