As light pollution increases, dark sky tourism becomes popular

 Wednesday, July 12, 2023

As cities expand and human civilization grows, an unintended consequence emerges: Light pollution.

The excessive artificial illumination of urban areas not only obstructs our view of the starry night sky but also has detrimental effects on human health and the environment.

However, this growing concern has given rise to a unique form of tourism known as dark sky tourism, where travellers seek out destinations with minimal light pollution to experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the night sky.

The island is becoming popular among people looking to enjoy the view of night sky.

Light pollution refers to the excessive use of artificial lighting, reducing the visibility of stars and other celestial objects. It is primarily caused by urbanisation, the proliferation of outdoor lighting fixtures, and inefficient lighting practices.

The glow from cities obscures the natural darkness of the night and disrupts the delicate balance of ecosystems.

The consequences of light pollution extend beyond the loss of a dark, starry sky. It disrupts the natural rhythms of wildlife, affecting their breeding, feeding, and migration patterns.

Animals such as birds, bats, and insects rely on darkness for navigation and survival. Artificial lighting can disorient and disturb their behaviours, leading to negative impact on biodiversity.

According to a recent research, sky is brightening by around 10 per cent every year and areas where people were able to see 250 brighter stars will offer at most 100, as per the SCMP report.

Excessive artificial lighting can have a profound impact on human health too.

The constant exposure to bright lights during night time can disrupt sleep cycle, reduce melatonin production and increase risks of chronic diseases, some studies have claimed.

Light pollution also hampers astronomical research and interferes with the work of astronomers and observatories.

In such a scenario, dark sky tourism is gaining popularity since it offers a unique solution to combat light pollution by encouraging travellers to seek out destinations with minimal light interference.

Dark skies are not just those that are devoid of natural light, but also of the afterglow of habitation. In a dark sky, the cosmos is vividly visible.

These places are often remote and provide optimal conditions for stargazing and experiencing the enchanting beauty of the night sky.

Dark sky tourism destinations often prioritise sustainable practices to maintain their pristine night skies.

They implement strict lighting regulations, encourage energy-efficient lighting solutions, and raise awareness among local communities about the importance of preserving darkness.

The trend has become popular in other parts of the world too, like Australia and New Zealand. An article published in a reputed newspaper last year said that New Zealand’s south island has seen a 300 per cent increase in visitors since Aoraki/Mount Cook national park and the Mackenzie Basin was named an International Dark Sky Reserve in 2012.

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