Light Pollution and Conservation of the Dark Skies

Light Pollution and Conservation of the Dark Skies

Event details

  • Thursday | 28 Apr, 2022
  • 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
  • Islamabad

Concept Note:

Coinciding with the Earth Day on April 22, April 22-30 is celebrated as International Dark Sky Week to recognize the world's remaining dark skies. The event brings attention to the increasing light pollution, because of poorly designed and inappropriate use of indoor and outdoor artificial lights, advertising, commercial properties, offices, factories, streetlights, and illuminated sporting venues. Being recognized in different forms such as glare, skyglow over inhabited areas, light trespassing at unintended places, and cluttering with excessive sources of light - light pollution is the result of our poor understanding of artificial light and causes serious environmental consequences for humans, wildlife, and our climate. Along with the immediate advantages introduced by the ambient lightings, such as illuminating the night environment, there are also unexpected and harmful effects of artificial lighting which is an emerging topic of research around the globe. This also affects the dark skies According to experts, excessive and improper artificial lights are dramatically altering the night vision of the earth from space. Light pollution is rapidly increasing around the world with urbanization and the expansion of the infrastructure. The new atlas shows that now, more than 80% of humanity experiences light-polluted night skies, which includes roughly 83% of the Earth's population. In addition to that according to some estimates, global lighting is responsible for one-fourth of all electricity consumption. Recent research conducted by the University of the Punjab on skylights of Lahore shows that the light pollution has significantly increased over the past 7 years. Findings suggested that light pollution rose by around 23.43% from 2012-2019, and night-time light fluctuations analysis shows that over 53.99% of Lahore suffered from light pollution. Moreover, according to the light pollution map, the trend of growing light pollution in Pakistan is +3.90% per year.

Overall, Pakistan is blessed with many dark skies throughout country. Sindh and Balochistan have also been blessed with dark skies just by moving out 100 kms from the city. Karachi does have light pollution but a few kms (100) away it decreases significantly. Some of the Astro-tourist/Dark sky tourism destinations and blue areas of Pakistan are Kalri Lake, Mud Volcano, Omara Beach, Pasni Beach, Ziarat, Princess of Hope, Lake Saif-ul-Muluk, Deosai National Park, Shandur Pass, Kirthar Mountain, Skardu, Hingol National Park, Thal Desert, Thar Desert, Hanna Lake, Rakaposhi, Kaghan Valley, K2 Basecamp, Shogran, Charakusa Valley, Cholistan, Gorakh Hill Station, Fairy Meadows, Shimshal Valley, and Hoper Valley. Light pollution is different as an environmental problem because it disappears when we turn off the lights, unlike other important issues such as global warming or microplastic. Light pollution, however, is not just about the legacy of the night sky and the inability to see the stars. It is a complex environmental issue affecting plants, animals, and us humans, disrupting our sleep cycles, and contributing to critical health conditions – needing appropriate sought out policy intervention with regards to lighting ordinances or codes for adoption by local municipalities in Pakistan across the country.

Objectives

This webinar aims to initiate dark sky advocacy on a national level and create a dialogue on the role of dark sky protection for environmental conservation and socio-economic development of Pakistan. Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)’s Network for Clean Energy Transition in Pakistan: Research and Advocacy in collaboration with Cosmic Tribe, is inviting different stakeholders to celebrate the International Dark Sky Week for the first time, on a national level. We aim to create a dialogue leading towards policy implementation. This discussion will also be facilitated by International Dark Sky Association to share the global perspective of dark sky conservation and policy implementation around the world.

To further accelerate the debate on the subject, this Panel aims to address the following key objectives:

1- Dissecting the potential of light pollution as a contributor to climate change and importance of dark skies conservation.

2- Analysis of the policy landscape and regulatory support for dark skies conservation.

3- Analysis of how the optimization of the artificial lightening usage at night can be a game changer in energy saving.

4- Finding a possible way forward and potential of developing dark sky tourism/Astro-tourism in Pakistan.

Moderator: Dr Hina Aslam, Research Fellow, Head Energy and China Study Centre, SDPI 
Panelists: 
 - Dr. Sardar Mohazzam, Managing Director, NEECA
- Dr. Zaigham Abbas, National Program Manager, Ministry of Climate Change 
- Mr. Adil Ahmed, Assistant Director, Sindh Tourism Development Corporation (STDC) 
- Mr. Michael Marlin, International Astronomical Union, Dark Sky Ambassador 
- Mr. Rayan Khan, Founder, Cosmic Tribe & International Astronomical Union, Dark Sky Ambassador 
- Mr. Umair Asim, President, Lahore Astronomical Society & Member Executive Board of Khwarizmi Science Society 
- Representation from Clean Lightening Coalition