By Hazarry bin Haji Ali Ahmad
The Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam
“But waste not by excess: for Allah loveth not the wasters”Al-Quran Surah Al-An’am [6:141]
What is Light Pollution? The inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light – known as light pollution – can have serious environmental consequences for humans, wildlife, and our climate. Light pollution include:
- Glare – excessive brightness that causes visual discomfort
- Skyglow – brightening of the night sky over inhabited areas
- Light trespass – light falling where it is not intended or needed
- Clutter – bright, confusing and excessive groupings of light sources
According to the 2016 groundbreaking “World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness,” 80 percent of the world’s population lives under skyglow. In Brunei Darussalam, more than 80% of our sky can’t experience a natural dark night!
Light pollution is a worldwide problem that has a range of adverse effects on human health and natural ecosystems. The amount of artificial light projected skywards can be quantified based on data from Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) recorded radiance (https://www.lightpollutionmap.info/).
“Seest thou not that to Allah bow down in worship all things that are in the heavens and on earth,- the sun, the moon, the stars; the hills, the trees, the animals; and a great number among mankind?”Al-Quran Surah Al-Haj [22:18]
A Call for Change
Effects of Light Pollution Now, artificial lights overpower the darkness and our cities glow at night, disrupting the natural day-night pattern and shifting the delicate balance of our environment. The negative effects of the loss of this inspirational natural resource might seem intangible. But a growing body of evidence links the brightening night sky directly to measurable negative impacts including:
- Increasing energy consumption
- Disrupting the ecosystem and wildlife
- Harming human health
- Effecting crime and safety
These are some of the findings based on VIIRS:
- Brunei Darussalam with the average mean radiance of 2.254 is the second highest in our region and placed 40th out of 250 countries (as of July 2020).
- Sadly, there is an increasing mean radiance trend of 0.39% per year.
- Brunei has limited access to excellent dark sky with rural sites of Mukim Labi in Belait, Mukim Rambai in Tutong and Mukim Amo in Temburong are the only available Brunei’s pristine dark skies.
“There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you.”Al-Quran Surah Al-An’am [6:38]
Take Action Now
You Can Help! The good news is that light pollution, unlike many other forms of pollution, is reversible and each one of us can make a difference! Just being aware that light pollution is a problem is not enough; the need is for action. You can start by minimizing the light from your own home at night. You can do this by following these simple steps: