Why should we care about light pollution?

Among the various kinds of pollutions that we discuss about and find measures to deal with in the contemporary world , light pollution is probably the one least known and consequently least discussed. This is particularly a problem in developed countries and the metropolitan cities of the world owing to the increased commercial activity. Lights are always on and roads are always illuminated. People work longer into the night and many go to sleep late as a routine. This phenomenon is increasingly seen in different parts of the world as we move towards greater urbanization and longer days of work.

aerial photo of cityscape at night

Light pollution is also known as luminous pollution. It refers to the excessive use of artificial light to such an extent that it is obtrusive and starts harming the environment. This is a direct result of our modern and industrial lifestyle. Light pollution is important because it is also a way through which humans leave their carbon imprint on the planet. It is seen that increased light pollution can create health issues as well as be harmful to wildlife and the natural environment. It affects nocturnal animals more and can even have an effect on the physiology of plants. It can disrupt normal migration patterns and the biochemical rhythmic cycles of nature which rely on the variations of light and dark during the day. In humans, it can cause stress, headaches, fatigue, sleeplessness, and many lifestyle disorders. It can even cause depression or cardiovascular diseases. Light pollution makes it extremely difficult to see the night sky as it is without the extraneous lights that tend to get in our eyes thereby dimming our view of the sky. The peace of the night sky and the view it offers has become difficult to find. Increased light pollution also interferes with research related to astronomy and can lead to calculation errors as well. This interference is the reason even astro-photographers search for places where there are no extra lights to click pictures of the night sky. These dark spaces where only natural illumination is present are decreasing at a rapid rate. Many researchers opine that the darkness of the night is essential for us and have to be reclaimed. The excessive light used causes a massive waste of energy also which directly increased the carbon footprint that humans leave on the planet.

We can do much to reduce light pollution if we are thoughtful and take some simple measures. Making sure that we do not use an unnecessary amount of illumination in our homes and streets is an effective method that can help. Turn off lights that are unnecessary. Wastage of light energy has to be reduced as well. So, we can use light bulbs that are energy efficient and use light shields to reduce glares. LED lights if used well can be an answer here. We can also work towards policies that seek better strategies of utilizing light energy and is eco-friendly. Spread awareness about this issue and help others to use their lights efficiently. All these will aid us in protecting our planet better and being responsible guardians of it.

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