Light Pollution: Consequences & Remedies

June 17, 2012 Comments Off

According to International Dark Sky Association (IDA), light pollution is the adverse effect, that use of artificial lightening causes. It may be waste of energy, light clutter, light trespass, glare and sky glow. Light pollution is affecting earth and its habitats in many antagonistic ways and steps needed to be taken to control it.

Consequences

Here are some good reasons to be bothered about light pollution.

  • Energy Waste

According to IDA, every year we consume 22,000 gigawatt-hours of energy to produce the extra light that is pointed to the sky. This is a huge amount energy that we waste, in terms of oil it is 12.9 million barrels; in terms of coal it is 3.6 million tons and in terms of money it is $2.2 billion. Just imagine this much amount that we waste to ruin the natural beauty of the sky, can be put to a number of better uses like helping poverty stricken people in Africa.

  • Wildlife & Ecosystem

Light pollution effects like light clutter, light trespass, glare and sky glow disturbs the natural behavior of animals. Every year millions of insects, birds and animals succumb to it. Light pollution disrupts the circadian rhythm of human beings, which results in increased stress conditions and damages health. Following are some examples of how wildlife is affected.

  • Birds – Many nocturnal creatures hunt in the dark, a lack of which can starve them to death. Other birds are attracted towards light. According to a study by US Fish and Wildlife Service, light clutters cause about 5 million birds to deviate off course during migration. This results in many deaths.
  • Mammals – Mammals that use darkness as a shelter against predators are exposed. Artificial lights also have adverse affects on natural vision of mammals and it mitigates their ability to breed and reproduce. This can threaten the extinction of certain endangered species.
  • Reptiles – Sea turtles use light from stars and the moon to navigate and find the right place to lay eggs. Pole mounted lights at beaches confuses them. Same is the case with their hatchlings which crawl to the ocean just after their birth. Artificial light attracts them away from the ocean and exposes them to predators.

Remedies

  • Reduce the Use of Outdoor Lightening

Outdoor lightening is the main source of light pointed towards sky. Reducing their use to the minimum required amount can ensure less light pollution without any consequences.

  • Use Time Controlled Outdoor Lights

It happens too often that before going to sleep you forget to turn off the excess outdoor lights, which adds up and contributes a big part to light pollution.

  • Use Light Cut Off Furniture

Using such fixtures that restrict the light to escape upwards will help in the elimination of sky glow problem. This will also help to direct all the light where it matters.

  • Use Motion Sensitive Lightening

Instead of turning on several lights in your home at a time, use motion sensing lights. This will not only reduce the wastage of energy but also point the light only where it is required and hence it contributes to reduction of light pollution.

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