There was a time when the night sky was a canvas of enchantment, a tapestry woven with stars, where grandmothers spun tales that transported young minds to distant creatures in the stars. As children, we would lie on our backs, gazing at the heavens, our imaginations fueled by the mysteries of the universe. But today, in an era marked by rapid modernisation and urbanisation, the starry sky has vanished from our view. The stories that once unfolded against the backdrop of darkness have become distant memories, obscured by the relentless march of artificial light.
So what stole our night sky? The answer is light pollution. Seeing the starry night sky is impossible with all those bright lights in today's modern cities. Even if someone manages to catch a glimpse, it may seem intimidating.
Light pollution is the presence of unwanted, inappropriate, or excessive artificial lightning, resulting in the night sky's brightening. Human activities contribute entirely to the problem of light pollution. From streetlights, lightning of high shopping malls or illuminated billboards, Dhaka city is filled with artificial light that disrupts natural darkness. With already enough problems in our capital, light pollution contributes to more harm.
Light pollution is the bane of every stargazer and astronomy enthusiast. The beauty of constellations, the thrill of spotting shooting stars, and the grandeur of the Milky Way are primarily lost amidst the glare of streetlights, billboards, and neon signs. Stars' limited visibility deprives individuals of the opportunity to explore the cosmos, dampening their curiosity and inhibiting scientific discovery. With insufficient resources for astronomical studies in the country, light pollution further interferes with the opportunities to observe and study celestial phenomena.
This baneful occurrence not only robs stargazers of their celestial dreams but also disrupts the delicate balance of nature itself. It directly impacts the human body's biological clock and the lives of other animals and insects that navigate based on light. It causes various health hazards, such as high blood pressure, headache, and sleeplessness, ultimately hindering normal bodily activities and mental health. It also affects the food intake of various nocturnal animals and the sleep patterns of birds.
Light pollution is not widely regarded as pollution in this country. The absence of a dedicated law to address light pollution is an affront to the beauty of our night skies and a disregard for the well-being of humans and the natural world. The lack of accountability allows a plethora of unregulated light sources to flood our streets, buildings, and public spaces, casting a constant glow that masks the celestial wonders.
Even though light pollution is a comparatively new phenomenon in our country, it is increasing at an alarming rate that demands our immediate attention and action. The absence of legislation, regulations and awareness to address this problem is a glaring oversight that jeopardises not only our ability to appreciate the beauty of the night sky but also our health, the environment, and the overall well-being of our society.