10 Ways to reduce light pollution

1. Stay informed about light pollution   – The first recommended solution for this problem is to spread awareness about light pollution & its remedies. Many of us don’t even know that light can also cause pollution. It is not that intuitive as well. Therefore, it is the duty of those, who already know and are well aware of light pollution, to spread awareness among people who haven’t heard of it.

2. Use Less Lights   – Another easy way to reduce light pollution is to switch off unnecessary lights whenever and wherever possible. Also, the outdoor lights should be switched off when you are about to sleep or you don’t have any work outside your house.

3. Use automatic timers to put off street light at pre-scheduled time   – In many places, it has been observed that street lights stay on even in daytime. Hence, automatic timers should be added to street lights so that they turn off automatically at the pre-set time.

4. Use less decorative lighting   – Festival seasons consume a lot of lighting. Many people keep the bright lighting on throughout the day and night. The use of such decorative lighting should be lessened. Instead, the use of candles and ‘diyas’ should be encouraged, especially during the festive season.

5. Check & stop using unnecessary daytime lighting   – The use of unessential daytime lighting should be checked and prevented. Be it the showrooms, streets, offices or other such places, the natural light sources should be used to fulfill all activities that require brightness.

6. Use of Covered Bulbs & Light Facing Downwards   – Street lighting systems should be designed properly in such a way that they do not transfer too much light into the sky. Using covered bulbs and designs with light facing downwards are some of the useful solutions. Such solutions would definitely help reduce the sky glow that is caused due to the light that directly goes straight up into the sky.

7. Take preventive measures wherever possible –   To reduce light pollution, preventive measures should be taken wherever possible. For example, the glare-free light should be used wherever possible and vehicles should not be allowed to use lighting systems that have powerful glare.

8. Avoid light trespassing-   It should be ensured that outdoor light does not enter residential houses through windows. For example, if you want to light your garden, then make sure that your garden lighting does not enter your neighbor’s house in such a way that they get annoyed with it. Use lighting systems that do not glare at your neighbor’s window.

9. Use motion and occupancy sensors to turn off lights when not in use –   Using motion & occupancy sensors at places like malls, parking areas, parks, etc., will help switch off lights automatically when not in use.

10. Better alternatives to light houses, cruises & ships   – Light houses are used for navigational purposes for ships and boats. They emit powerful light to guide the ships. Using such powerful lights directly affects the habitat of marine organisms. Therefore, scientists should check on this issue as well and should find better alternatives for guiding the ships.

Taking preventive measures to decrease light pollution does not mean living in the dark! Actually, these measures should be followed to make lighting more resourceful, valuable and favorable!


Light Pollution?

[light bulb]

Have you lost it? Your view of the nighttime sky that is. If you live in a large city, you may have lost most of your view of the night sky.

Light pollution is caused by our expanding cities as people build and install lots of outdoor lighting in their communities. Safety at night is important, however, this "urban sky glow" is light that is being wasted, above and beyond safety and security. It prevents us from seeing the Milky Way and in some places people are now limited to seeing only Polaris, the north star, and a few other select bright stars. Luckily, comet Hale-Bopp was bright enough to see from our homes, but you may miss other spectacular celestial events like meteor showers. Most amateur urban stargazers must travel far from the big city to see constellations or planets.

Excess lighting is a wasteful use of energy and money. You can help prevent light pollution by getting involved in your community's efforts to use more efficient lighting. There's a lot that can be done without cutting down on safety and security. Here are a few examples:

    button Use night lighting only when you really need it.

    button Turn off lights when they are not needed.

    button Use light timers when you are away from home.

    button Use motion detection lights when possible instead of leaving lights on all night.

    button Keep light directed towards the ground or exactly where it is needed. Light fixtures that control light placement and brightness, minimize glare, and save on energy use are the best kind (low pressure sodium lights minimize "sky glow" best and are energy efficient as well for street lighting, parking lots, and security lighting).

    button Learn all you can about light pollution and/or get involved with an astronomy club or a group that works with their local community to keep skies dark enough for everyone to enjoy.

Adapted from "Astronomy's Problem with Light Pollution," June 1990, International Dark Sky Association.