Main Causes of Light Pollution

What Are the Causes of Light Pollution?


The brightening of the sky at night caused due to various human-made reasons, which disrupt the natural illumination and cycle of the environment, is generally termed light pollution.

Light Pollution Introduction

Like many other forms of pollution (air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, etc.), light pollution is also a high-level environmental issue. Still, it can be treated, unlike other types of pollution.

As per a recent report, about 83% of the global population survives under a light-polluted sky. With everyone’s cooperation, the causes of light pollution can be controlled to protect the natural inhibits of the environment.

When we talk about the causes of light pollution, we will find that all the reasons are made by us only. For example – the lights in the city at night completely change the atmosphere of any city. The city lights light up the entire atmosphere for the whole night so that you will not feel like it is the night during night hours.

The global dark-sky moment in the 1980s, along with the international dark-sky association, was the time for taking action against the effects of light pollution.

The birds and animals get so disturbed by the unwanted changes in the night illumination that they must compromise to cope with these changes. This is the high time to cooperate with the other living organisms of the environment to make a healthy ecological balance in the ecosystem.

Different Types of Light Pollution

Before understanding the leading causes of light pollution, let’s know the different types of light pollution:

  • Light trespass: When an unwanted light passes over your space from outside, it is called light trespass.
  • Over Illumination: When we use excessive amounts of light energy, it is called over-illumination. As per energy audits, we spend about four to five million barrels of oil every day for lightening energy.
  • Glare: When we look at the filaments of an unshielded or poorly shielded light source, it causes problems for our eyes. And this type of light pollution is known as Glare. There are three different types of Glares such as blinding Glare, discomfort glares, and disability glare.
  • Clutter: Excessive grouping of lights creates confusion and distracts us from the point we are trying to focus on. And this type of light pollution is clutter.
  • Sky glow: In densely populated areas, when the illumination of all the lights combines and creates a glow effect, it is called sky glow.

What Are the Main Causes of Light Pollution?

Light pollution is a pollution which is caused by human-made sources. Various reasons are responsible for causing light pollution. Some of them are;

Light Pollution from Residential Lights

Most people like sleeping in an entirely dark room at night to sleep peacefully. How disturbing it will be if some light intrudes your room from outside. This kind of light pollution in a residential area is mainly sourced from outdoor lights, spillover, neighbor’s houses, glare lights, etc.

Further, as per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, there is a profound link between light pollution from residential lights and drug intake for better sleep. People with such sleep disturbances are more prone to sleeplessness and start medication than those who sleep without the interruption by the outdoor lights.

The outdoor lights, overhead, garden lights, etc., undoubtedly give an elegant appearance to the outdoor area. It also plays a vital role in terms of security, but it causes a lot of disturbance at night. This type of residential lighting may cause nuisance inside the house, people while driving, brightening of sky, disturbing the natural illuminations of the environment.

Light Pollution from Vehicles and Street Lights

The lights on highways and streets remain lit for the whole night every day. Just imagine the powerful lights lightening on hundreds of kilometers of roadways daily for almost 10-12 hours; how much light pollution does it cause? Not only the roadway lights but the lights of vehicles running on the roads also give its contribute to the causes of light pollution.

The vehicles’ lights and streetlights of roads together make it a massive problem for the environment that affects the entire surrounding with light pollution. According to the studies, the lighting on roadways and vehicles alone contributes to almost 35-50% of the whole light pollution.

Light Pollution Through Improper Planning

The proper placement of street lights, signage, etc., is crucial to avoid light pollution. It is the responsibility of the engineers to place the street lights and signage with proper planning keeping all the aspects in mind. Suppose they do the placement with poor planning. In that case, it may affect the environment contributing to light pollution.

The Dense Population Is Also Responsible

Overpopulation is a big problem not only as one of the main causes of light pollution but in terms of other environmental issues as well, such as air pollution, global warming, greenhouse effect, water pollution, etc. The world population is increasing daily, and simultaneously the number of businesses, residences, etc., is increasing equally. All these coming together leads to light pollution in the surroundings.

Light Pollution Through Night Sport Stadiums

The huge floodlights used in sports grounds are one of the main causes of light pollution. The lights used at sports stadiums at night are quite powerful in that they give a day-like feeling during night hours. These big lights are capable of disturbing the environment at night by reflecting the glare from these lights upward, due to which the sky appears much brighter. These lights are specially used for big sports events, but they affect the environment badly.

Light Pollution Through Commercial Ads and Electronic Hoardings

It is quite often to see huge electronic displays used for commercial advertisements. These electronic boards keep lighting’s on for the whole night, which also causes light pollution. The lights used in these electronic displays are compelling that we can see these displays from a few kilometers away from these hoardings. The reflection of light from these electronic boards causes lightning in the sky at night, disturbing the natural illumination during night time.

Reckless Use of Lights

We often use colorful and bright lights on special occasions like Christmas, Diwali, Eid, etc., which look very beautiful. We decorate our houses, temples, shops, etc., with lights on these special occasions, but when we leave these lights on all night, This causes light pollution. We should turn off the lights after celebrations.

Illumination of light and exposure in night

It is also an example of wasting energy (Also Read- energy Saving tips). We all need to practice together to minimize light pollution and save energy so that we can save some for the upcoming generations.

Light Pollution from Shopping Malls, Gaming Zones, and Restaurants

Other light pollution causes include shopping malls, gaming centers, night clubs, restaurants, etc. They use pretty attractive lights to grab the attention of the customers. These display lights disrupt the surrounding area by scattering a lot of nuisances in the environment.

Light Pollution from Public Places

Public places like airports, railway stations, bus stands, etc., are provided with a large and robust lighting system that generates too much light to the sky, interrupting natural illumination. These public places are lit with strong lights all the time, whether day or night, because they provide 24 hours services to their customers. These lights are not even covered with glare effects, hence spreading strong direct lights to the environment and becoming one of the main causes of light pollution.

We are not saying live in the dark and avoid lights; the main focus of “earth reminder” is to raise awareness and make people switch off the lights whenever possible to save energy and maintain ecological balance.

If you like this article on light pollution, share it with your friends and family members. Please comment below for any queries.

One Comment

  1. Totally Appreciate with the concept and the topic as we are destorying our universe to creating a new artificial world. Thanks you for sharing the basic knowledge which people need to know. Good luck ????

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