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Climate & Environment
The world heritage site, Taj Mahal, situated in India, is facing the threat of extinction due to pollution. Technology is being used to find solutions
April 1, 2019
Kenilworth Castle in Minecraft
English Heritage-As part of the celebration of England's castles, the experts at Blockworks have recreated Kenilworth Castle
Sustainable Developemment Goals
Tech syndicate team
The team of students from Amity School who took part in the Minecraft project
The Taj Mahal, meaning "Crown of the Palace" is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658), to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage". It is our concern that Taj Mahal is slowly decaying due to air pollution. Dense smog created by human activities is slowly discoloring the marble and turning it to sickly yellowish-brown color. There are several factors: heavy traffic, wood-burning crematoriums, smoke from neighboring factories, and Agra’s growing population, the last of which demands more and more water. As the Yamuna River dries up, it risks sliding the Taj Mahal off its picturesque banks into a sea of mud. The burning of Municipal Solid Waste in open results in thick toxic smog which is the main reason for the discoloration of Taj Mahal.
What can be done to prevent Taj from getting polluted and lose its pristine glory?
Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also considered to be Asia's second most visited tourist attraction after Angkor Wat in Cambodia. But it is situated in the 8th most polluted city in the world. In the 1980s, there was a petition filed in the Supreme Court as to how the once ivory-white marble of the Taj was turning yellow. The Supreme Court of India has ordered that all the wood burning crematoriums be replaced by electric one. The UP Govt has banned the burning of cow dung which serves as a cheap source of fuel but at the same time, it produces brown carbon the same type which is turning the Taj Mahal into yellowish-brown color.
The whole presentation is captured in the form of a SWAY https://bit.ly/2Dj1gdQ
What steps can be taken to save the monument?
What impact will this solution make? Who would be the stakeholders for this solution?
It shall change the mindset of people, by bringing in a more civic sense amongst people, attract more tourists and lead to revenue generation. The government, NGO's, local bodies and common masses will have to work together. Students shall bring about awareness.
What risks and challenges shall the students face?
1 Convincing government bodies
2 Taking masses along for a noble cause
3 Financial support and fundraising.
The students shall work towards creating their own world in Minecraft space and identify eco- friendly viable solutions.https://youtu.be/SK6ejMA2zwM
Through creative problem-solving methods, the students applied solutions to combat the problem of discoloring of Taj Mahal and presented it in the Minecraft world. The collaborative technique of working in a group with their Mentor, they shall apply the following measures in the game:
1 Creating Tulasi (Indian basil plants ) garden across the long stretch of 34-35 km along Yamuna river, that would clean up the atmosphere and eliminate mosquitoes.
2 Mud packs solution for the main minarets of Taj Mahal so as to remove the ugly patches on white marble
3 Stopping the use of plastic water bottles, as they get thrown in River Yamuna
4 Stopping the throwing of Industrial waste in the river The Yamuna.
5 Electric cremation has to be made compulsory in Agra, instead of logs of wood
6 Auto rickshaws to use Ethanol. Other vehicles to use biofuel, green fuel, and electric vehicles to be popularised in Agra (the city in which Taj Mahal is situated).
Success Criteria and possible alternatives :
4 Stopping the throwing of Industrial waste in the river
6 Auto rickshaws to use Ethanol. Other vehicles to use biofuel, green fuel, and electric vehicles to be popularized in Agra
The restoration of the pristine glory of India’s world heritage site Taj Mahal is a matter of concern for Indian people. Students shall address this issue with the help of gaming technology, to find creative solutions using critical thinking and collaboration skills. They shall create a new world on Minecraft, taking cues from the video shown
It is expected that once executed, the following will benefit:
• River Yamuna, the stopping of plastic bottles in it will save it from getting polluted
• Rickshaw pullers, converting to CNG/ ETHANOL, or electric rickshaws will save the average environment in Agra
• Local people of Agra will benefit
• The tourists coming to see TAJMAHAL will enjoy the white marble more
• The average Indian students shall feel proud that such reformative moves can benefit society
• Burning of dead bodies in electric crematoriums shall save firewood and prevent pollution
• Overall our Government shall benefit in terms of public participation leading to an overall increase in revenue.
It is believed that the problem-solving technique used by students in solving the problem of pollution of heritage site in India shall widen their perspectives so that they shall apply this new knowledge in other situations as well.
New challenges for students:
1 Identify any heritage site of your country that is facing the threat of extinction.
2 Work in groups to collate your research and findings to get to the best possible solutions.
3 Present the solutions by creating a world on Minecraft.
Minecraft is what's called a sandbox game, where the player creates the game themselves by manipulating the world within it (like kids playing in the sand). There are no specific steps or goals, so everyone playing the game is having a different experience.
Holy Basil- Tulasi- Ocimum tenuiflorum, commonly known as holy basil, Tulasi or tulsi, is an aromatic perennial plant in the family Lamiaceae. It is native to the Indian subcontinent and is widespread as a cultivated plant throughout the Southeast Asian tropics
MUD THERAPY-The effects of mud are refreshing, invigorating, and vitalizing. For wounds and skin diseases, application of mud is the only true bandage. Mud therapy is used for giving coolness to the body. It dilutes and absorbs the toxic substances of the body and ultimately eliminates them from the body.
The Yamuna- The Yamuna was also known as the Jamuna or as the Jumna, is the longest and the second largest tributary river of the Ganges (Ganga) in northern India.
Ethanol-also called alcohol, ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, and drinking alcohol, is a chemical compound, simple alcohol.