NEW DELHI — Activists on Thursday said that the pollution in the national capital's air is corroding the iconic Lotus temple made of pristine white marble.
A Delhi based lawyer, Sanjeev Ailawadi, who filed a petition with the National Green Tribunal (NGT), said he had filed a petition in February to protect the Lotus temple.
"Lotus temple is an international symbol of what Delhi stands for, it's a pristine white monument, it's a monument which has over a period of time started representing this Delhi, and it is the ethos of this city. Now this is the monument which has started getting affected. If you kindly look around, when you will have a look at the monument, you'll be able to find out the pristine white marble is now turning yellow. And the reason why this is happening is because of the vehicular pollution and because of the other airborne pollution which is there in the surrounding areas," said Sanjeev Ailawadi.
The General Manager of the Lotus Temple, Shaheen Javed has seen its colour change from a white to a depressing yellow over the years.
"No one has helped us, in fact this is my constant request to the municipality and authorities around here that at least this approach road should be clean because thousands and thousands of visitors come every day. Last year we had 56 lakh visitors," said Shaheen Javed.
Javed said that corrosion of marble is a natural process due to the pollution, the process has accelerated and if the marbles completely turns yellow, then it cannot be replaced.
He added that if nothing was done about the deteriorating air quality, the house of worship will soon turn into a deserted place.
Other than the vehicular traffic around Lotus temple, the other major contributors of acceleration in the decaying process are huge construction in the zone around the monument, an incinerator burning the majority of Delhi's municipal waste and another waste dump not too far from the monument where almost the entire south Delhi's waste is dumped.
Meanwhile, NGT has swung into action by banning vehicles older than 15 years from plying on Delhi roads to improve air quality.
A petition filed with the NGT said that heavy vehicular pollution from one of Delhi's commercial hubs located next to the monument was hurting the structure's white marble.
The white marbled Lotus temple, which is visited by thousands of domestic as well as international tourists every day, is fighting to survive under the polluted air.
The marbles making the temple were specially exported from Greece as they were also used in monument. But it is in a sorry state as the governmental authorities were turning a blind eye.