New Delhi is currently in a state of emergency after a deadly smog has turned the usually very polluted city into what CNN is referring to as “the most polluted city in the world right now.” The air quality is so bad, in fact, that residents (and tourists alike) are buying anti-pollution masks as quickly as possible and the government is urging all citizens to stay inside until something can be done to clean up the air and make it possible to go outside.
But while people are struggling to breathe in New Delhi — the government’s actually suspended all construction for the week to let the air clear and 5000 schools have been closed in the area — tourists are also suffering in Agra, where millions converge every year to visit the Taj Mahal, often considered one of the modern world’s most beautiful wonders. Except, well, not today, because people trying to take pictures of themselves in front of a building that’s been referred to as a “teardrop on the cheek of time” are mostly getting back photos of themselves in front of an impenetrable gray fog that looks like it came straight out of a B-movie.
Mashable reports that the uptick in pollution is due to “the aftermath of Diwali, and burning of millions of tons of crop stubble.” Unfortunately, it also doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
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After the longest travel day I've ever had, it was such an amazing experience to see this spectacular monument in the flesh. Unfortunately these photos don't quite do it justice but I promise it's somewhere in there behind all that fog! #tajmahal #getitindia #guessiforgottoputthefoglightson
While the pollution doesn’t appear to be too health-threatening in Agra right now (tourists are still encouraged to wear masks), the government is furiously scrambling to figure out a solution that will keep both their citizens safe and keep tourists coming back to visit. According to India Today, the Taj Mahal sees millions of visitors annually, and the pictures that are coming out — ones that are being tagged with such phrases as #whathavewedone — could lead to a drop-off in visitors, which would, in turn, lead to possible falls in the economy.
Tourists are only disappointed right now (after all, most of the pictures here look like they could have been taken anywhere on a particularly foggy day), but that disappointment isn’t nearly as terrifying as the devastating effects the pollution will have on the people who live in the area.
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