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Bright lights from gymkhanas on Mumbai’s Marine Drive are health and traffic hazards

An NGO recorded light pollution levels for the first time in south Mumbai

mumbai Updated: Jan 20, 2018 13:00 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Marine Drive,Light pollution,Mumbai
A photo taken by a resident in November 2017 shows floodlights at Wilson Gymkhana at 12.05am.

Prolonged exposure to high intensity light-emitting-diodes (LED) floodlights from gymkhanas along Marine Drive can lead to health ailments, said doctors, after a city-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) recorded light pollution levels for the first time in south Mumbai.

A week after the Mumbai city collector passed an order based on hearings from Wilson gymkhana and Chira Bazaar resident Nilesh Desai, whose house is located next to the gymkhana, that all gymkhanas on Marine Drive need to switch off flood lights by 10pm, NGO Awaaz Foundation and Desai took light readings at the Wilson gymkhana and the police gymkhana on Thursday.

At 8.30pm, the light levels was 84,800 lux (unit for light) at Wilson Gymkhana and 14,100 lux at Police Gymkhana. Ambient light level along Marine Drive was 2,100 lux. The readings were taken using a lux meter — a portable device used to measure light. One lux is equal to the light on a 1sqm surface away from a single candle. A 5,000 sqft office has light levels of 400 to 600 lux, according to the BMC’s mechanical and electrical department.

“High-intensity LED lights at gymkhanas along arterial Marine Drive face the road and are potentially dangerous to traffic. The lights also intrude into nearby homes and cause sleep disruption and consequent adverse health effects on residents of the areas,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.

Doctors from Sir JJ Hospital said residents living around the gymkhanas should not be exposed to light more than 54,000 lux, and regular direct exposure to such levels can lead to health ailments. “Indirect exposure above 90,000 lux and direct exposure of 54,000 lux LED lights entering people’s homes is dangerous and extremely harmful. Such levels can lead to photophobia (fear of lights), headaches, watering of the eyes and a person can fall ill over long period. The intensity of this light source needs to be controlled,” said Dr TP Lahane, ophthalmologist and deputy director at the Directorate of Medical Education and Research.

First Published: Jan 20, 2018 13:00 IST