Environmental Degradation on Historical Monuments
Air pollution plays a major role in influencing weathering of monuments and deterioration of prehistoric museum objects and cave paintings. Therefore, pollution is not just confined to environmental degradation but historical monuments as well. The effects degradation has on such monuments vary in extent from one region to another and based on the contributing factors.
Historical monuments are impacted negatively by pollution throughout the globe and this includes the Acropolis in Greece to America’s Lincoln memorial. The threat this poses is loss of these irreplaceable structures. Most of the monuments have an aesthetic and cultural value that cannot be compared to any price. One of the areas that have been studied for a long time is the role played by atmospheric degradation in the destruction of historical buildings.
This is because it increases the decay of stone and also causes historic materials to lose their value. Preservation of historical monuments plays an important role in the integration of countries because of the social, cultural and economical implications they have.
Latin American countries for instance have an importance legacy from colonial, modern and pre-Hispanic modern periods as is the case with Mexico which has 15 sites which are included in the list of UNESCO cultural heritage. Most of these are situated in urban areas such as Morelia, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico City, Morelia, San Francisco de Campeche and Guanajuato etc.
The historical monuments that are worst affected included those in areas exposed to environmental agents which can induce deterioration. For the longest time, natural perimeters such as extended periods of rainfall, high humidity and marine aerosols effects were the major factors that contributed towards the degradation of buildings.
Acid rain is one of the factors that contribute to the destruction of monuments and it occurs when fossil fuel emissions that contain sulfur dioxide are combined with air to form acid precipitation. When the acid falls on these historical monuments whether or marble or limestone, chemical reactions take place causing a corrosive effect on the structures and this not only dissolves the material but causes permanent damage.
There are other factors that also contribute to the damage caused to historical monuments. For instance, increased humidity provides an ideal environment for corrosive chemical reaction if there is no rain. In the same manner, any changes in the radiation of the sun can also temporarily cause an increase in temperatures on the monuments surface causing damage.
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