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Tulsi Plant to Control Pollution in Agra and Save Taj Mahal

Thanks to pollution, the aging white Taj Mahal is slowly yellowing and the government is on a mission to find an apt solution to this perplexing problem. Now the District Forest Department of Agra has come up with a unique solution – Tulsi (Holy Basil). The forest department believes that planting Tulsi around Taj Mahal and Agra might help in saving the monument from deteriorating.

The department is hoping to exploit the antipollutant, antioxidation and air-purifying properties of Tulsi plant.

Manjari Mishra writes in Times of India

The department will launch the Tulsi plantation drive from January 2009. The public-private joint venture is expected to provide an eco-protection cover to sensitive Taj trapezium zone surrounding the 17th century monument as well as the other two world heritage monuments like the Agra Fort and Aitma-ud-Daula tomb. Tulsi was (Occinum sanctum) chosen for its anti-pollutant, anti-oxidation and air-purifying properties, making it an ideal ornamental shrub in the vicinity of the Taj.

The job is to sensitize the masses about pollution, and ensure maximum participation and follow up, he said. Meanwhile, forest department will undertake greening the Taj Forest Block Area (TFBA). Initially, the task involves plating 10,000 saplings alongside the 650 broad leaved environment friendly saplings (peepal, neem, pakar, goolar, kadamb and bargad) planted this year, said DFO, Agra division, N K Janu.

The drive, said the DFO, needs much caution and care as Tulsi is a very sensitive plant and liable to wilt under winter frost. The department will launch the drive by January-end to ensure that survival of Tulsi is satisfactory.