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EDUindex News

Understanding Luminous Pollution

 


Many of us are taking steps to reduce carbon footprints. We responsibly recycle glass, metal, paper, plastic waste each week. However, unknowingly we are contributing to carbon emissions through light pollution which intrudes the delicate ecosystem. Light pollution in many countries is neglected and not regulated. 

The excessive, misdirected, or unnecessary use of artificial outdoor lighting is known as Light pollution a.k.a Luminous pollution, or Photopollution. Light pollution alters the color and contrast of the nighttime sky, natural starlight, and disrupts the circadian rhythms, which affects the environment, inhabitants, and astronomy research.

As countries are developing, the need for artificial outdoor lighting has also increased and light pollution has spread into suburban and rural areas. 


Types of light pollution:-


1) Light Trespass

2) Glare

3) Sky Glow

4) Light Clutter


What are the causes of light pollution?

Poorly designed residential, commercial and industrial lights contribute significantly to luminous pollution. Also, the use of unnecessary outdoor artificial lights contributes to luminous pollution. Approximately about 30℅ of light is wasted due to poorly designed artificial outdoor lights. 

Let's have a look at the effects of light pollution.

As mentioned above, light pollution has effects on our environment and its inhabitants, and also on astrology. Mentioned below are some of the known effects of light pollution:-

Effect on the environment:                          Excessive nighttime lighting releases more than 12 million tons of carbon dioxide every year into the atmosphere, which would take around 702 million trees to absorb. 

Luminous pollution also increases air pollution by resisting a natural occurring radical that cleans the air at night, called Nitrate radical. 

Effect on wildlife:                                      Light pollution can alter the feeding, mating, sleeping, and migration cycles of the entire wildlife. Wildlife can also feel the disorientation of time due to excessive light pollution.

Effect on energy:                              According to a study by IDA( International Dark-Sky Association) in 2007,  it is estimated that about 30% of the light emitted by public outdoor light fixtures is wasted, which equals 22 TWh/year of energy wastage. That is equivalent to the following:

★About 3.6 million tons of coal per year.

★ About 12.9 million barrels of oil per year.

Effect on Astronomy:                  Astronomers are most affected by luminous pollution. As it makes it harder to view and find extraterrestrial bodies for the astronomers even with the aid of a telescope.

Effect on Humans:                                      Like plants and animals, humans are also regulated by circadian rhythms. The rhythms respond to the light and darkness around any organism, which when altered can result in various health hazards like sleeping disorders, depression, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, etc.


How to prevent light pollution?

Given below are some ways to prevent light pollution:-

I) By using warm white lightning as it scatters less.

II) By using shielded outdoor light fixtures.

III) By picking the right exterior light fixtures with the right cutoff angle, which prevents light from escaping above the horizontal plane.

IV) By using motion sensor outdoor fixtures.

V) By using IDA-certified light fixtures.