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Rise of Light Pollution

Rise of Light Pollution

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  • GS 3 || Environment || Environment & Ecology || Pollution

 Why in News?

  • In India, a recent study published in the journal Urban Climate said brightness from outdoor lights increased steadily between 1993 and 2013. New Delhi, Telangana, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh all experienced increase in very high light pollution intensity.

 What is Light pollution?

  • Light pollution, also known as photo pollution, is the presence of anthropogenic (man made ) light in the night environment
  • It is exacerbated by excessive, misdirected or obtrusive uses of light, but even carefully used light fundamentally alters natural conditions
  • As a major side-effect of urbanization, it is blamed for compromising the health, disrupting ecosystems and spoiling aesthetic environments
  • It has a disruptive effect on natural cycles and inhibits the observation of stars and planets
  • It washes out starlight in the night sky, interferes with astronomical research, disrupts ecosystems, has adverse health effects and wastes energy.
  • The world is getting brighter, but scientists say that may not be a good thing.
  • According to Researchers, satellite data showed that Earth’s artificially lit outdoor surface at night grew by about 2% annually in brightness and the area from 2012 to 2016.
  • This underscores concerns about the ecological effects of light pollution on people and animals.
  • Components of light pollution
  • Glare: excessive brightness that causes visual discomfort.
  • Skyglow: brightening of the night sky over inhabited areas.
  • Clutter: bright, excessive and confusing groupings of light sources.
  • Light trespass: light falling where it is not intended or needed.

 Effects of Light Pollution

  • Disturbs the reproductive cycles of some animals.
  • Disturbs migration of birds that navigate using the stars and to disorient night-flying insects.
  • In humans, it disturbs circadian rhythms that regulate hormones and other bodily functions.
  • Threatens biodiversity.
  • Excessive blue light emitted form LEDs directly affects sleep pattern in Human by suppressing the production of the hormone melatonin, which mediates the sleep-wake cycle in humans.
  • Alteration in reproductive activities, predator/prey interactions.
  • Artificial lights also attract migratory birds.
  • Negative impact of light pollution on nocturnal pollinators.

 Analysis of data

  • Every year earth is getting brighter than earlier years, it underscores the concerns about the ecological effects of light pollution on people and animals.
  • The rate of growth observed in developing countries was much faster than in already brightly lit rich countries.
  • With few exceptions, growth in night time light was observed throughout South America, Africa and Asia.
  • Light remained stable in only a few countries, although the researchers said the satellite sensor’s blindness to some LED light may mask an actual increase.
  • Australia’s lit area decreased due to wildfires. Night time light declined in War-hit Syrian and Yemen.

 What are the reasons of increasing light pollution?

  • City transitions of its street lighting from sodium lamps to LED, indicates that savings in energy are being offset by either new or brighter lights in other places
  • Urbanization

 Way forward

  • Few alterations can reduce our illumination footprint.
  • Shields on street lighting fixtures to prevent direct upward dispersal.
  • Correcting over –lighting, and adjusting light intensity according to the time.
  • APJ Abdul Kalam –Wheeler Island
  • Olive Ridley turtles were being distracted by the bright lights on the Wheeler island missile testing facility nearby, former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam ensured that these lights were masked during the nesting season of the ecosensitive marine creatures.
  • As the chief of Defence Research of Development Organisation (DRDO), when his attention was drawn to the fact that the Olive Ridley turtles, which have their largest rookery in the world on the Gahrimatha beach in Odisha’s Kendrapara district, were being distracted by the bright lights on the Wheeler island missile testing facility nearby, he ensured that these lights were masked during the nesting season of the ecosensitive marine

 Additional Info-

 Mains Question

  • Comment on rising level of Light Pollution and its effects.