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Effect of Light Pollution on the Environment

The presence of undesired, unsuitable, or excessive artificial illumination is referred to as light pollution. Artificial lighting in a broad way refers to any man-made lighting installed wrongly during the day or at night as well as it being a problem in all community levels. Anything can be impacted from an individual level such as unnecessary light flashing from a consumer device to a communal level where new urbanization is affecting older neighborhoods as a result of poorly designed lights. Artificial lighting may be viewed as a phenomenon that pertains a single pollution source, but to the wider aggregate influence in several pollution sources. There are various ways in which light pollution such as glare, over-illumination, light trespass light clutter and from satellites. The unwanted artificial lighting is known as (light pollution), it is caused by the result of man-made light harming human health and affecting crime and safety is one of the negative sides on the environment.

For the first time, ecologists have been able to detect damage that is occurring due to artificial lighting. Although light pollution can still occur during daytime, effects are heightened during the night as a result of the darkness. According to (Sahin Akaltan & Yuksin) through estimation, eighty three percent of the global population lives beneath skies that are light polluted, while sky glow affects twenty three percent of the world’s geographical area. The region influenced by artificial lighting is expanding. Light pollution is a prominent side effect of urbanization that is blamed for hurting health, disturbing ecosystems, and degrading attractive landscapes. Light pollution is an unintended consequence of industrial society. Some of its sources include exterior and interior illumination, advertising, outdoor area lighting (such as parking lots), offices, industries, streetlights, and lit athletic stadiums. It is most severe in highly industrialized, heavily inhabited parts of North America, Europe, and Japan, as well as large cities in the Middle East and North Africa such as Tehran and Cairo, although even modest levels of light can be seen and cause issues. In the second part of the nineteenth century, people became aware of the negative impacts of light pollution.

Artificial light exposure at night has been related to an increased risk of sleep difficulties, obesity, depression, metabolic diseases, and even breast cancer. Humans have evolved a circadian rhythm in which they are awake during the day and sleep at night. According to (Irwin 2018) the extensive use of artificial illumination in streetlights, businesses, stores, residences, and a variety of other places throughout the world has disrupted this natural pattern. In reality, nearly none of us have ever experienced a genuinely black night. According to research, blue light is the major cause. Fluorescent lights and ubiquitous electrical gadgets such as laptops, computer displays, cellphones, and televisions contain this. Simple remedies, such as shutting off devices rather than keeping them on standby, limiting screen time at night, wearing a sleep mask, and selecting lights that do not generate blue light, can help to offset these impacts.

The body has developed a number of protection systems in response to intense or hot light. Pain reactions, blinking, pupil constriction, and a natural dislike to bright lights are all examples of biological and behavioral responses. According to (Ouyang Davies & Dominoni 2018) by removing high quantities of damaging radiation-induced chemicals, antioxidants and pigments in the skin help to slow down undesirable chemical processes. Even with these safeguards, the body can be injured by exposure to artificial light. Too much radiation, such as that emitted by a powerful artificial light source, can result in the creation of hazardous quantities of dangerous compounds

Lighting has a detrimental impact on the ecosystem because it disturbs the natural light cycles that animals rely on. Animals’ singing, activity, and foraging patterns, as well as changes in a person’s health, are all examples of how their internal clocks change over time. According to Lim, et al (2018) for a long time, the way of life has been dependent on day and night. Ecological processes like photosynthesis depend on light and darkness. The existence of artificial light is one of the less commonly documented effects of human activities on the environment. Lighting interferes with photosynthesis as well as the activity of insects, birds, and other creatures. Birds are known to have a high mortality rate due to artificial lighting that hinders their vision thus colliding with structures such as buildings and electric posts. Artificial lighting has also affected the wildlife in a negative way. A good example is turtles that hatch on the beach during the night. In the darkness of the night, hatchlings are unable to find their way to the sea because of artificial lights.

“Disability glare” is a phenomenon caused by bright spots of light emitted by poorly built road way lights. Because of the intensity of the glare, it compels people to turn their gaze away from the veil of light that is being dispersed across human retinas. According to (Motta 2020) this condition has the ability to temporarily render everything but the light source invisible, except for the light source itself. The eyes of older drivers are particularly sensitive to handicap glare because, as people grow older, they lose their capacity to rapidly adjust to changes in light levels on the road.

Excessive exposure to the artificially prolonged daytime of the lit modern environment might cause the internal cycles to become out of sync with one another. According to (Blume Garbazza & Spitschan 2019) national institute of health (NIH) research has found that changing the clocks makes it difficult to sleep and rise at optimum times, cognitive and motor skills decline, as well. People who get a good night’s sleep are less likely to gain weight, suffer from depression, and develop diabetes. According to the National Institute of health, humans perform best when they sleep at night and act through the day. If you find that outdoor light is shining into your room and interfering with your sleep, it is recommended that you either block the light or demand the light be protected for the benefits of parties involved.

However, artificial light is beneficial while properly installed. Artificial lighting is predictable unlike natural lighting and therefore can get used for a variety of scenes. Aside from brightness and placement, the lights can also be controlled. By modifying the timing, wavelength, and spatial distribution of artificial lighting has transformed the nighttime atmosphere over a wide area (Kozai, 2018). In turn, this has had an impact on human well-being, automobile accidents, crime, energy consumption and CO2 emissions, beauty, and animals and ecosystems. Artificial illumination is critical for an architect’s work. It contains an element that has the potential to reshape settings, communicate, and affect the subtle messages that a site communicates to the people who reside there. As a result, it acts as design tool, capable of producing a number of diverse atmospheres, ranging from energetic to relaxing to warming in their effects.

Artificial light, in its role as a space shaper, may create a range of different atmospheres in the same room, allowing users to customize the ambiance to their own tastes and requirements. Warm lighting can be used in conjunction with cold lighting to produce a more soothing environment (Enongene, et al., 2017). Cool lighting, on the other hand, enhances mental and physical activity and should not be used in conjunction with warm lighting. While a living room does not require the same level of illumination as a surgical suite, the opposite is true for the surgical suite as well. However, while dim lighting is beneficial in carefully designed settings, it can impair vision and cause health problems when used in places of employment.

In conclusion, as much as artificial lighting is a technological development, it has a lot of negative effects on humans, animals and the environment. Artificial lighting is increasing globally due to urbanization that has highly contributed to the spread of man-made lighting and as well as disrupting the ecosystem. Artificial lighting has had negative effects to humans such as sleep difficulty, obesity, depression and metabolic diseases. It is recommended that humans should not leave their gadgets such as laptops and mobile phones on and should rather learn to put them off after use to reduce the effect of light pollution to humans. Artificial lighting has been proven to have a negative impact on the ecosystem by destroying the natural cycle of light that animals rely on. In humans, having proper sleep can reduce stress, improve mood and prevent one from various disease like diabetes.


Blume, C., Garbazza, C. and Spitschan, M., 2019. Effects of light on human circadian rhythms, sleep and Ouyang, J.Q., Davies, S. and Dominoni, D., 2018. Hormonally mediated effects of artificial light at night on behavior and fitness: linking endocrine mechanisms with function. Journal of Experimental Biology221(6), p.jeb156893.mood. Somnologie23(3), pp.147-156.

Enongene, K. E., Murray, P., Holland, J., & Abanda, F. H. (2017). Energy savings and economic benefits of transition towards efficient lighting in residential buildings in Cameroon. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews78, 731-742.

Irwin, A., 2018. The dark side of light: how artificial lighting is harming the natural world. Nature553(7688), pp.268-271.

Kozai, T. (2018). Plant Factories with Artificial Lighting (PFALs): Benefits, Problems, and Challenges. In Smart Plant Factory (pp. 15-29). Springer, Singapore.

Lim, H.S., Ngarambe, J., Kim, J.T. and Kim, G., 2018. The reality of light pollution: a field survey for the determination of lighting environmental management zones in South Korea. Sustainability10(2), p.374.

Motta, M., 2020. Human and Environmental Effects of Light Pollution. Journal of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (JAAVSO)48(1), p.102.

Ouyang, J.Q., Davies, S. and Dominoni, D., 2018. Hormonally mediated effects of artificial light at night on behavior and fitness: linking endocrine mechanisms with function. Journal of Experimental Biology221(6), p.jeb156893.

ŞAHİN, M., AKALTUN, Y. and Yüksel, O.Ğ.U.Z., 2017. Investigation of the Environmental Effects of Light Pollution which External Lighting Systems Caused. Erzincan Üniversitesi Fen Bilimleri Enstitüsü Dergisi10(2), pp.278-286.


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