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Mumbai is too bright, says collector, asks Maharashtra govt to draft light pollution norms

Sampada Mehta, Mumbai collector (Island City), said guidelines will be issued to all gymkhanas by next week to follow the 10pm deadline

mumbai Updated: Jan 20, 2018 12:31 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai news,light pollution,mumbai collector
Light pollution from gymkhanas along the Marine Drive have been affecting citizens for a while. (HT File)

Apart from drafting guidelines for all gymkhanas in the state to follow a 10pm deadline to turn off their floodlights, the city collector will be asking the state government to formulate norms for light pollution in the city.

Officials from the Mumbai collector’s office visited Chira Bazar resident Nikhil Desai’s home on Wednesday night and collected details of complaints filed by him to formulate guidelines for the gymkhanas.

Desai has filed over 20 complaints over the past two years highlighting the nuisance of light pollution from gymkhanas along the Marine Drive.

Sampada Mehta, Mumbai (Island City) collector, said guidelines will be issued to all gymkhanas by next week, to strictly follow the 10pm deadline.

“We are in the process of writing to the state government, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and other regulatory bodies to frame rules to control the brightness of high mast lights so that citizens are not affected. It is the responsibility of all departments to come together and find a solution to the problem,” said Mehta.

Light pollution is the term for excessively altered, misdirected or obtrusive man-made light.

HT had reported in October that a compilation of studies on light pollution by Awaaz Foundation has identified five categories of light pollution, its health impact on humans and animals, and the need for a policy to regulate the increased use of artificial light.

On Friday, Awaaz Foundation released a report on light levels at two gymkhanas along the Marine Drive. “This report highlights the need for a detailed scientific study as light measurements vary in intensity from how and where they are measured from. These figures indicate that they are beyond harmful levels,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.

Desai pointed out that his eyes start blacking out after looking at these lights for more than 15 seconds.

“There is a very sharp difference in light intensity depending on how we are facing the light. Such differences create a distraction while driving, which is a major concern for citizens’ safety,” he said. “Owing to the high intensity of light, we have been living in a constant state of curfew as our curtains and blinders are permanently shut,” he said.

“LED lights are not good for the eyes. Short term exposure to such high lux levels can alter a person’s mood, affects metabolism, and can lead to macular retinal degeneration in the long term – deterioration of the central portion of the retina or even the cataract,” said Dr Arjun Ahuja, head of ophthalmology department, KEM Hospital, Parel. “More than the harmful effects, bright light directly entering residential areas are an intrusion of privacy. Standards are needed for this pollution source,” said Dr Shashi Kapoor, eye surgeon and professor, JJ Hospital.

First Published: Jan 20, 2018 12:31 IST