Most parts of north India has been gripped by the chronic air pollution. After affecting the Taj Mahal, the air pollution is now making the gleaming walls of the holiest shrine in Amritsar, the Golden Temple, dull and dingy. A project was undertaken more than a century ago and then in 1999 to replace the 430-year-old temple’s gold-plated walls. The project is no doubt too expensive.
A campaign have been launched by environmentalists and religious leaders to cut down on the pollution levels. The measures include removing industries from the area and reducing the traffic. Moreover, the food for the ‘langar’, that serves free meals every day to around 100000 people, in the temple is now being cooked in gas instead of burning woods. (Also read. US sues Volkswagen for deceptive 'clean diesel' campaign)
But unfortunately, despite all these measures, there isn’t a significant impact and also there is no pollution monitoring equipment installed. "As far as pollution goes, we are paying attention. We are in the process of procuring equipment so that we can check the pollution area, pollution from every source on a day-to-day basis," said Jaswant Singh, environmental engineer at the State Pollution Control Board, a government regulatory authority.
"The pollution degrading the Golden Temple is growing. We need to do a hell of a lot of work to protect the holy city status of this city," said environmental activist Gunbir Singh, who heads a group called Eco Amritsar.
The replacement of gold plating will require huge amount and according to Gunbir Singh, Sikh devotees will contribute to the cause. "This is gold. The cost would be huge, but still would not be a problem. Most of the activity that goes on there is based on donations - people will take off their bangles and rings and leave them if work needs to be done," Gunbir Singh said. (Also read. Odd Even Formula: No school buses to be used this time)