HYDERABAD: The bad effects of pollution are prevailing all around the world. The increase in vehicles has given a wide upgradation to the air pollution. The 400-year-old Charminar – the most recognizable symbol of Hyderabad -and other ancient monuments within the 300 metre heritage zone in the area are turning black due to pollution and their plasters are peeling off due to constant vibrations caused by passing vehicles, is the considered opinion of conservation architects and environmentalists. Conservationists blamed the government for failing to protect the Charminar precincts, a key requisite for acquiring Unesco’s world heritage status. They have urged the government to immediately implement the long-pending pedestrianization project, which involves traffic management and development of environs to conserve the heritage identity of the precinct.
“The archaeology department and the GHMC are solely responsible for the bad state of monuments and their failure to educate the government on the importance of taking immediate steps to protect the structures,” said L Panduranga Reddy, noted historian of Hyderabad.
Inspite of the Charminar precincts, several ancient structures like Mecca Masjid, Jama Masjid, Char Kaman (the four arches) and the Badeshahi Ashoorkhana, have recorded the highest pollution figures, next only to Punjagutta, records from Andhra PradeshPollution Control Board reveal.
According to the experts statement, the measurable total particulate suspended matter (TSPM), respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) and oxides of sulphur and nitrogen are all posing huge threats to the ancient structures.
“The dust forms a layer after accumulating over a period of time. This is causing blackening of the surface. The organic matter that settle on the structure along with the dust leads to moth formation when it rains,” Suryanarayana Murthy, a conservation architect said.
The heritage precinct of Charminar comprises many historic structures dating back to the period Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah, the founder of Hyderabad.
Oldest structures like the Jama Masjid, Mecca Masjid, Char Kamans (the four arches) and the Badeshahi Ashoorkhana, all come into this area. These all come under a 300 metres radius.
The Unani Hospital, Pathargatti and Sardar Mahal are other important expansive structures in the precinct, while the Laad Bazaar is a recognized heritage stretch.
Architects say high levels of the TSPM are the biggest threat to structures, particularly monuments.
Murthy said the formation of the layer happens much faster on structures with a rough surface, as in the case of Mecca Masjid, when compared with structures with a smooth and plastered surface like Charminar.
“It may take about eight months to one year for a layer of 1 mm to form over the surface of Charminar. But it happens faster on structures like Mecca Masjid where the rugged stone is exposed, warranting frequent attention,” Murthy explained.
Construction activity within 100 metres of the Charminar, is also posing a big threat to the structure’s stability, as secret expansion of either a temple or a police station is against a the Monuments Act, which bars any construction within the zone.
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