Light Pollution: Why is it Harmful?
Excess pollution into the environment can affect the life cycle because it affects many essential elements.
What is Pollution?
Pollution, more or less, refers to introducing harmful materials into the environment. These toxic materials or “pollutants” can either be natural (volcano ash) or artificial (factory waste).
What are the different types of pollution?
The three significant pollution categories are land, air, and water pollution. These three elements are essential for all life, including plants, animals, and humans.
What is light pollution?
However, there is a subtype of pollution that is slowly gaining attention. With constant technological innovations, humanity has pushed the boundaries of possibilities as we slowly evolve. One example of this innovation is the use of artificial lights.
Light pollution refers to the excessive use of outdoor artificial light. Prolonged inappropriate use of these artificial lights can affect several aspects of our lives and nature.
What are some harmful effects of light pollution?
Cities and countries with excess use of artificial lights like traffic lights, billboard signs, 24-hour establishments, etc. lead to a phenomenon known as sky glow. Sky glow is when the night sky brightens as an after-effect of using such products. When left unregulated, this can lead to the following outcomes:
1. Our sleep cycle becomes disturbed.
Human beings are diurnal. This instance means that we are active during the day and sleep at night. Unfortunately, constant exposure to artificial lights during nighttime can affect our internal clock regulation, reducing our melatonin production and making it harder for us to have a regular sleep cycle.
A disrupted sleep cycle can significantly affect our health. When left untreated, it can lead to irritability, weakness, and disturbed cognitive functioning—eventually affecting our quality of life.
2. Light pollution can disturb wildlife.
Human beings aren’t the only ones affected by light pollution. Excess skyglow can also confuse some animals—both diurnal and nocturnal species. When the sky is bright at night, it can disturb their sleep cycles—possibly baiting them to areas like the city and our neighborhood.
3. Light pollution prevents us from studying the stars.
Excess skyglow makes the night sky unnaturally bright—preventing us from exploring the stars and the universe. Since ancient times, our ancestors have sought answers, inspiration, and perspective from the stars and celestial bodies. When we pollute our night sky, we become disconnected from our environment—making us unable to appreciate nature’s beauty.
Light pollution is a severe issue that requires teamwork. To play a part in reducing its effects, remember to facilitate your use of lighting and use energy-efficient warm light sources. For drivers at night, avoid glare lighting, which can lead to vehicular accidents and environmental consequences. Every step counts.