While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) inaugurated lighting at Juhu beach on Monday as part of its beautification project, activists have raised concerns regarding “light pollution”.
In a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Awaaz Foundation founder, Sumaira Abdulali, has condemned the move by the civic body to light up the beach with decorative lighting.“I request that ‘beautification’ projects which include lighting, specially high intensity lighting which do not necessarily relate to lighting as a safety measure, but are recreational in nature, consider the health effect of such lighting on residents of nearby areas as part of the planing process. Such ‘beautification’ projects may not be implemented without specific attention to the possible adverse health effects of extraneous lighting causing light pollution,” reads the letter.
According to a study published by Awaaz Foundation in August this year, “Light pollution is the collective term for excessively altered, misdirected or obtrusive manmade light”. The study mentions that this form of pollution affects sleep, increases headache, fatigue and stress and decreases sexual functioning. It also affects the ecosystem by disrupting the food chain and confusing animal navigation at night, according to the study.
“Light pollution offers an advantage to species that are attracted to light, over those that avoid it, thereby influencing species frequencies, predator/prey relationships, and thereby the food chain,” reads the study. Abdulali stated that she will soon begin monitoring light pollution at the beach using light meter. It is measured in lumens.
“Once the lighting is conducted on a regular basis, we will monitor it using the meter. Lighting the beach for safety reasons is acceptable but this is recreational lighting and it should be avoided. The beach is one of the few places left in the city today where we can observe celestial bodies like the sun, moon and stars. This will not be possible with such lighting,” said the activist.
The BMC has installed programmable lighting at the beach that will change colours to create an illusion of sailboats.