What are the main sources and causes of light pollution?
Brightening of the sky at night caused due to various reasons (man-made reasons) which disrupt the natural illumination and cycle of the environment is generally termed as light pollution. Like many other forms of pollution (air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, etc.) light pollution is also a big level environmental issue but it can be easily treated unlike other types of pollutions. 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 causes are created by us only. For example- the lights in the city at night completely change the atmosphere of any city. The lights in the cities lit the entire atmosphere of the cities for the whole night that you will not feel like it is night during night hours.
The birds and animals get too much disturbed with the unwanted changes in the night illumination that they have to 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. For this, we need to know the main causes of light pollution to find out the preventive measures for this problem.
What are the main causes of light pollution?
Light pollution is a kind of pollution which is caused by only mad-made sources. There are various reasons that are responsible for causing light pollution. Some of them are,
- Light Pollution from Residential Lights
Most people like to sleep in an entirely dark room at night to take a peaceful sleep. How disturbing it will be if some light intruding your room from outside. This is a kind of light pollution in a residential area that mainly sourced from outdoor lights, spillover, neighbor’s house, glare lights, etc.
The outdoor lights, overhead, garden lights, etc. give an elegant appearance to the outdoor area undoubtedly and it also plays a vital role in terms of security but it causes a lot of disturbance at night. This type of residential lightings may cause nuisance inside the house, people while driving, brightening of sky, disturbing the natural illuminations of the environment.
- Light Pollution from Vehicles & 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 roadways on a daily basis for almost 10-12 hours, how huge amount of light pollution it causes? Not only the roadway lights but the lights of vehicles running on the roads also give its contribution to the causes of light pollution.
The vehicles’ light and streetlights of roads together make it a huge 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 entire light pollution.
- Light Pollution Through Improper Planning
The proper placement of street lights, signage, etc. is very important 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. If they do the placement with poor planning then it may affect the environment contributing to the causes of light pollution.
- The Dense Population Is Also Responsible
Overpopulation is a big problem not only as one of the major 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 day by day and simultaneously the number of businesses, residences, etc. is also increasing equally. All this coming together is causing light pollution in the surroundings.
- Light Pollution Through Night Sport Stadiums
The huge floodlights used in sports ground are one of the major causes of light pollution. The lights used at sports stadiums at night are quite powerful that they give day-like feeling in night hours. These big lights are capable enough to disturb the environment at night by reflecting the glare coming 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 quite 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 on lighting for the whole night that also causes light pollution. The lights used in these electronic displays are very powerful that we can see these displays from few kilometers away from these hoardings. The reflection of light from these electronic boards causes lightning of 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, etc. which looks very beautiful. We decorate our houses, temples, shops, etc. with lights on these special occasions but we leave these lights on all night. This is also a form of light pollution.
Leaving the lights switched on for the whole night is not only contributing to the causes of light pollution but it is also an example of wasting energy (Check – 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, Restaurants, etc.
Some other light pollution causes include shopping malls, gaming centers, pubs & discos, restaurants, etc. They use quite attractive lights to grab the attention of the customers. These display lights disrupt the surrounding of the area by scattering a lot of nuisance in the environment.
- Light Pollution from Public Places Like Airports, Bus Stands, Railway Stations, etc
The public places like airports, railway stations, bus stands, etc. are provided with a large and powerful 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 it is day or night because they provide 24 hours services to its customers. These lights are not even covered with glare effects, hence spread direct strong lights to the environment becoming one of the major causes of light pollution.
We are not saying live in 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.