Climate Change in India: Revitalization of Historic Buildings

Climate Change in India: Revitalization of Historic Buildings

Written by: Aayushi Mishra

Introduction

The term climate denotes the act of all atmospheric activities especially temperature, air pressure, rainfall, and humidity, etc. Any type of alteration in the natural environment positively or negatively impacts the whole scenario of the ecosystem. Recently with the development of science and technology and their use in alteration of natural systems has negatively impacted the earth. Not only the lives of the living beings are affected but also it leaves an impact on the cultural riches and monumental buildings of the country.

The deterioration of these historic places is the cause of concern as these monuments have importance due to the identity of transferring old era information to the future generation, therefore it is the source of one’s root and knowledge. The gifts not only confer rights but also bestows liabilities. Consequently, it is our responsibility to protect this heritage from deterioration. Climate change leading deterioration on the historic buildings is the result of the temperature difference between day-night, summer-winter, water movement at the building, abrasive effects of rainwater, acid rain and due to water, air pollution carrying some harmful chemicals.

Architecture is defined as a combination of economic, cultural, political, and social developments in designing buildings. All the era prevailing have their way of residing in place and creation of their design of the monument. These historic buildings existing today are an architectural heritage to this generation with the representation of the historical, cultural message of social duty and environment. India as a country has a diversified culture and history. The historical monuments sustaining today is an example of this varied civilization.

These historic monuments standing today from past to present have worn out due to numerous effects and some of them have disappeared with the passage of time. This disappearance and deterioration of the building have largely been due to environmental reasons. These monuments are unfavourably affected by changing climate conditions and the natural environment. The cultural riches and historical monuments are the wealth and value that assigns the identity, richness and power to the country. Each historical building and cultural value is an expression of accumulation and a bridge from past to present.[1]

Climate change and the problem of pollution

The fluctuations of temperature due to climate change has led to summer hotter and winter colder which negatively affect monument and is a major cause of slow deterioration. With increasing population and pollution there is major contamination in air and water. Air Pollution specifically is the most significant factor affecting the construction material of stones. Chemical weathering is mostly the result of air pollution.[2]

The issue with taj and other monuments

Among the 7 wonders of the world the taj mahal, the prominent artistic and architectural milestones in our country is victims of climate change and environmental threats. This historic building with white marble has turned yellowish due to extreme air pollution. However, there have regulations placing limits on nearby industries. The taj is a victim of both air and water pollution as the river with harmful chemicals flows just behind the monument. Nevertheless, the apex court has been active for cause and has been successful in reversing and mitigating the effect.

Some other examples of that are under threat of environmental pollution are “The Jantar Mantar” an observatory in Jaipur Rajasthan that has been deteriorating due to weather conditions, vandalism, and weathering, etc. The most serious issue is the loss of fine, calibrated markings on these buildings which are on verge of erosion.

Golden temple is no less affected by these issues, the industrial emissions are pulling out the shine from the golden temple.[3]

These are well-known monuments under threat however numerous historic building conditions are unknown to the public. This is the cause of major concern

Revitalization of historic monuments in India

  1. Cutting CO2 emission-

To stop climate change, we need to stop the number of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, from increasing. For the past 150 years, burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests, which naturally pull carbon dioxide out of the air, has caused greenhouse gas levels to increase. Maintenance of monuments

  • Special zones

Special zones should be created near the monuments for their protection as for example taj trapezium zones have been created. All activities which are any which ways harmful should be banned from such zones.

  • Adopting monuments

The best initiative started by the Archeological Survey of India was the campaign or an urge for adopting the monuments. The main motto of the campaign was for the maintenance of these historical places.

  • Awareness campaign

The government at all levels should run an awareness campaign for the creation of a sense of belonging among the population of the country. It is countries heritage, culture, therefore, it is the responsibility of each and every citizen to protect their historical place. Also, awareness about fundamental duties should campaign.

  • Strict laws

In the matter of protection of historical places the act followed is The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. Back then in 1958, there were not many issues related to climate change and its severe impact on monuments but it’s high time to amend laws and adhere to them strictly.

  • Massive plantation

Not only the government bodies but the public at large should opt for massive plantation and creating green zones areas near the city to curb CO2 emission and other harmful gases. Large areas should be brought under the greenery for regulating climate change.

Conclusion

Not only the lungs of human and animal are being damaged by the issues of climate change but also the history, culture and it’s education is a great threat. It’s high time for the population to take responsibility and work for their coming generation to gift valuable and great history as we have been bestowed by our ancestors.

About the Author

Revitalization of Historic Buildings against Climate Change in India

Aayushi Mishra

Student at Vivekananda School of Law and Legal Studies, VIPS


[1] Anisimov, O., and Reneva, S., Ambio, 2006, 35, 169–175.

[2] Schaffer, R., J. Chem. Ind., 1967, 23, 1584-1586.

[3] Joint study by it Delhi and Punjab pollution board

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