Heavy showers have come as a big boost to afforestation efforts in the Taj city. The Taj Mahal is now adequately insulated against air pollution by a thick green cover. Behind the Taj, the Mehtab Bagh area is densely green. The Taj Nature Park is equally lush. Work on landscaping and recycling waste drain water is progressing well, officials say.
Saplings planted in June in half-a-dozen stretches in the district have grown. "The most spectacular will be the long stretch along the
Yamuna River in the city until Haathi Ghat near the fort where thousands of saplings are now five to six feet tall," said District Forest Officer N.K. Janoo.
He said the greening work on the controversial Taj Heritage Corridor will begin soon with landscaping and laying of pathways. "The Taj Corridor will be a shining green jewel between two world heritage sites, the Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal.” Janoo said.
Ten years ago, the green cover in Agra district had fallen to just 7.38 percent. A recent report of the Forest Survey of India says this has risen to 8.25 percent. Estimates suggest the green cover in the city area has gone up 17 percent.
Several NGOs have also planted saplings throughout the area. At St. Peter's College, a vast Neem Vaatika has come up on a wasteland. Harvijay Bahia, a shoe exporter and sportsperson, has planted saplings in blocks and provided managerial backup to ensure the project doesn't die.
The Taj Nature Park Project, 500 yards from the Taj, is now a green buffer. Waste water from drains has been treated and used to irrigate the green cover in the ravines of the Yamuna. This has helped bring down the suspended particulate matter in the eco-sensitive zone around the Taj Mahal. At Mehtab Bagh, a green cushion has insulated the Taj from air pollution.
*Elements of this story excerpted from “ASI starts e-ticketing trial run for Taj Mahal” – The Times of India