The environment suffers from a variety of natural and man-made issues that have deteriorate the air, water and land around us and now, as it turns out, light factors into it all as well. Light pollution refers to the excessive, misdirected and obtrusive use of artificial lights which have a tendency to harm not only mankind but the flora and the fauna as well. In disrupting ecosystems, light pollution poses a serious threat, especially, to nocturnal wildlife, having negative impacts on plant and animal physiology. It can cause confusion in the migratory patterns of animals, modify their competitive interactions, change predator-prey relations, and cause irreversible harm.
Types of Light Pollution
There are primarily three types of pollution that are caused due to excessive and misdirected light:
- Glare: This is theunshielded lighting that evolves into a public-health hazard which affects people as they grow older. Glare light scattering in the eye causes loss of contrast, sometimes blinds you temporarily and leads to unsafe driving conditions. For instance, if a person is driving while having his/her headlights at maximum capacity, then the high beams of light projecting from the car may obstruct the eyesight of drivers in the opposite lane which could cause a serious road accident.
- Light trespass: This phenomenon occurs when unwanted light enters one’s property and causes nuisance. For example, shining unwanted light into a bedroom window of a person trying to sleep would cause them disturbance and make the wrongdoers liable of light trespass.
- Skyglow: This refers to the glow effect that can be seen over populated areas. Skyglow is the combination of all the reflected light and upward-directed (unshielded) light escaping up into the sky (and for the most part, unused). This occurrence leads to a serious waste of energy as artificial lights lose most of their utility when they escape into the sky.
Possible Need for Regulation
It is quite clear that light pollution does not raise the alarm that air or water pollution does and this is the reason why there are no guidelines or safety standards in most parts of the world.Even though India is not yet at the level of light pollution that can be considered to be alarming such as in the United States or other European countries, the growth it has achieved in the last few years in terms of digitalization and technological innovation may make it imperative for us to be prepared. In 2018,revealed that India is losing its natural night light 3 times over the world average. In other words, the presence of artificial light in the environment has strained the routine of Indians, and animals as well, more than any other country or region.
Conclusion and Suggestions
In order to curb light pollution properly India can follow some international standards such as setting up a fixed unit of lighting consumption and supply after a thorough survey of the amount of light that is actually required and is necessary. Furthermore, a violation by using higher and more power consuming lights should amount to payment of damages, exemplary in nature, by the wrongdoer.There shall be a curfew after which all the decorative lights and advertisement billboard lights of shops and restaurants shall be either turned off or reduced to only the necessary ones in consonance with the steps taken to reduce noise pollution. With efforts like these, India might be able to do more than just delay the inevitable.