Light pollution

27 Oct

Light pollution is not a very widely heard term. I read this first in some off-beat self-improvement/spiritual magazine as a kid. Years later I mentioned this while my Environmental Studies teacher was counting different kinds of pollution. And No wonder she thought I was on some kind of prank.
So, what is light pollution? Well, as per the earlier version I read, this leads to disturbed biological clocks in human. I remember when 9 PM used to mean late-night. Now this is hardly evening. Then 4 AM was a wake up time. Now 4 AM is the new midnight. We have distanced ourselves from natural light (which is again rare in cities). This has led to sleeplessness, abnormal blood pressure, unhealthy food habits etc. But well, humans adjust so fast and in a few more years people will find it hard to believe that there were man who used to go to bed at 9-10PM and used to wake up at 4-5AM. So perhaps in long run, there is not much harm except a little unfit society.

Birds, already rare in cities, are the second victim of this abnormality. They find it hard to adjust with this new 24*7 “illuminated” world. They hit glass windows, develop diseases and eventually die.

But they are also not the reason I chose to write today.

I am not a big time star-gazer. But in old summer days when I used to sleep on terrace, I remember gazing at stars and trying to identify constellations. Now when I don’t own a terrace, I rarely gaze at stars or praise the cool and beautiful moon. But whenever I try to, I am troubled by two things- one the tall buildings around me and second the disappeared stars due to intense lights. I am hardly able to see a dozen stars. The starry-night will now be just a word to be read in old books. When man started to roam in sea, stars were his best friends. But a few more years and the next generations will know nothing of even the pole-star [Dhruva-tara].

There has been some change in people’s view about 24*7 illumination and few cities across the globe have observed few earth-hours to enjoy darkness.But this is not a significant effort. There is not much to do or anyone will bother to do, but sure I will miss the real stars disappeared from my sky.

Lastly one of my favorite from Calvin and Hobbes-

The real stars

Calvin and hobbes


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