Visitors beware: the Taj Mahal is being slimed

This isn’t a Nickelodeon gag, it’s the work of millions of insects
May 22, 2016 03:00PM

The Taj Mahal is one of the most popular tour destinations on earth. But now, visitors of the famed mausoleum will get a little something extra: green slime.

Millions of mosquito-like insects are thriving off of a nutritious algae blooming along the banks of the nearby Yamuna River and swarming the Taj Mahal. When the insects mate – and the are mating – they excrete a green substance, which has begun to coat the famed building’s marble walls.

“I have been constantly watching how the river pollution has gone from bad to worse,” D.K. Joshi, who filed a petition over the insects in the National Green Tribunal, an environmental court last week, told the New York Times. “The encroachments on and around the riverbed, the sewage going directly into the river” are choking it, he said.

The effects of pollution on human health in Indian has become a top concern for officials, but its cost to India’s cultural heritage has received less attention, according to the Times.

However, the green secretions — a residue made up of the chlorophyll the insects consume — on the back wall of the Taj Mahal is not actually harmful beyond the discoloration, Girish Maheshwari, the head of the department of entomology at St. John’s College in Agra, told the Times.

“They can create problems for the visitors,” he added. [NYT]Christopher Cameron