“If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.” ― Lyndon B. Johnson
Light pollution. This phrase may be new to many of you. But yes, you read it right – now we have to fight with light.
Humans are diurnal species. This means that our eyes evolved to function best under daylight. Our eyes can function at night with a little bit of light, thanks to the cells in our eyes. So, outdoor lighting provides us with visibility to conduct day-like activities at night time. This has led to us seeing good outdoor lighting as an attractive benefit for our communities.
Because of our preference for daytime light levels, and the very basic and primitive fear we feel for dark places, we very much like light. It gives us a feeling of safety and security.
It can be easily observed through light pollution map how rapidly lighting is increasing in developing countries.
Now let’s try to understand what light pollution actually is.
Light pollution can be defined as the alteration of light levels in the outdoor environment due to artificial or man-made source of light. We can also say light pollution is light that is not being efficiently or completely utilised and is often pointed outwards or upwards, and not downwards. This overspreading of light can be termed as light pollution.
The level of pollution has increased after the introduction of LED lamps. Lighting has become cheap as well as energy efficient. In the last few years, the use of lighting has increased rapidly, especially in India after the launch of the ‘Ujala’ scheme by the government of India.
So, what problems can we face due to light pollution? We are already aware of the high levels of pollution in most of our urban cities. Due to air pollution, we are already unable to see the stars properly at night. Now, because of light pollution, the brightness of the upper surface increases, making it more difficult to see the stars. We can’t neglect the connection between human beings and stars.
Light pollution is also harmful for our health. It affects our biological cycle, and the research report by last year’s nobel prize winner in physiology tells the importance of the biological cycle.
If we come to its direct effect, then we will find various negative health effect. Too much illumination may cause headache, fatigue, stress and anxiety. It can also disrupt our sleep, which may lead to long term health problems. And due to its effects on our biological cycle, it is also a cause for breast cancer.
Apart from humans, it also affects birds and animals’ sleeping patterns and plant growth in urban areas.
Now the question arises – do we really need so much lighting on the streets? However, LED lamps are energy efficient. As an alternative, using smart lamps is not going to be a cheap and easy task.
So, for common citizens like us, we should remember the times when we didn’t need to depend on light bulbs for electricity for saving our health.