It is thanks to the invention of electronic light bulbs and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) advancement of it in the recent years that humans could manoeuvre the world at night much effectively. This has contributed to the rapid development where humans can stay active at night and till the next day after – example like cross-time difference travel and security.
However, everything that is man-made comes with its own consequences. According to Jari Lyytimäki from Finnish Environment Institute in Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2015, the rapid increase use of new lighting technologies, in particular LED may either increase or reduce disturbing and ecologically harmful outdoor night-time light pollution. Light pollution is a novel environmental issue widely affecting ecosystems, human cultures, societies, and health and well-being of individuals.
Dark Sky Malaysia, a local star-gazing community in their webinar on light pollution shared that the use of lights could be optimised so as to not affect the ecology that depended on natural light like the moonlight. A BBC documentary has captured the moment of freshly-hatched baby turtles in Terengganu that got confused with nearby artificial lights to moon reflection on the sea and ended up making their way to the town instead of the sea. Apart from that, excessive exposure of light in the night disturbs a human’s circadian rhythm that controls our body clock that determines when we should rest and be energised or stay awake.
The GSDR report also calls for public attention and policy measures to be made, aimed at reducing light pollution to avoid energy wastage and to create efficiently illuminated and enjoyable outdoor spaces.
What can we do to minimise light pollution? Here are some simple, do-able solutions:
Optimise the Use of Bulbs
Use optimum amount of bulbs to light up your home and surrounding areas. This will help conserve the energy and limit the extent of light from disturbing other ecology around you. Motion sensor-activated lights are great to avoid wastage from possible, or forgotten to switch off the lights situation.
If You Must Use Outdoor Lights/Lamps
Cover the top of the lights/lamps so it targets only the sides and not upwards, to the sky. Never use glaring lights like spotlights as it penetrates the sky and mimics the daylight, contributing disturbance to light pollution.
Use the Correct Bulbs
Are you using eco-friendly LED bulbs? If you are, great but let’s make it even better by using warm lights, as it saves more on energy and reduces illumination. Use bulbs of CCT < 3,000 K, S/P ratio < 1.2 to minimise blue emission.
Let Your Local Leaders Know About Light Pollution
Tucson, Arizona in the US has improved the quality of their city’s night sky by implementing a massive policy that reduced its light pollution greatly by 2019. Originally, in 2012, the city leaders issued an outdoor lighting order requiring fully shielded lighting and limiting the total light produced at night, in particular in natural areas and areas near astronomy sites.
Are you ready to save the dark night sky by reducing light pollution? Let us know if you’ve been aware of this or have extra tips to save the night. Check out on the level of light pollution in your city via https://www.lightpollutionmap.info/