What is Considered Light Pollution?

Excessive use of light can cause pollution, but what is considered light pollution? Many large cities deal with light pollution and its effects on how the night skies are seen can be dramatic. It is almost impossible to see stars from a light-polluted city. On the other hand, you can see many stars in a dark sky without any visual aid on a clear night. Let us find out more about what is considered light pollution below.

What is considered light pollution? Light pollution is the excessive, obtrusive, and improper use of artificial light. Many outdoor lights cause light pollution which is dangerous because they can wash out the light from the stars at night. Aside from that, it also affects humans, the environment, and wildlife.

What are the different types of light pollution? Why is natural light important? What is light pollution? How do you measure light pollution? These are some of the questions that we will discuss. Check out the rest of the article below to learn more about light pollution.

What is considered light pollution
Image by Nikhil Kurian from Pixabay

What is Light Pollution?

Light pollution happens when outdoor lighting is used excessively and inappropriately. Excessive use of outdoor artificial light causes light pollution that washes out the view of the night sky. Moreover, light pollution increases energy consumption and can disrupt the ecosystem. Light pollution affects humans, the environment, and wildlife. Take note that light pollution affects the carbon monoxide level of the planet.

Why is Natural Light Important?

Natural light is important because it affects the planet and everything on it. Nowadays, we have artificial lighting to illuminate the darkness. On the other hand, changing the natural light of the environment can affect not only the planet but also animal and natural life. Moreover, it can also affect the weather. Planet Earth responds to the pattern of light of the sun. Moreover, the distance of the sun to the Earth affects the seasons.

Types of Light Pollution

The different types of light pollution include over-illumination, glare, light clutter, skyglow, and light trespass. Light pollution can be visible light that causes disruptions. Let us find out more about the different types of light pollution below.

Over Illumination

One type of light pollution is over-illumination which is caused by the improper use of lights. Outdoor lights that are left on or those that are not adjusted for daylight savings time cause energy waste. It can affect raising utility costs as well as disrupt natural sleep patterns.

Light Clutter

Light clutter is a type of light pollution that is man-made. It can be the result of poor lighting placement. Improper placement of outdoor lights creates a contrast illumination that can interfere with night vision as well as illumination. The problem with light clutter is that it is strong enough so that it throws off the natural nocturnal systems of wildlife.


Glare is another type of light pollution. It happens when lights are reflected off from the surrounding surfaces. As a result, it scatters and causes vision problems. While glare does not interfere with night vision, it can make it hard to identify objects.

Light Trespass

Light trespass is a type of light pollution that is also a nuisance and can be a crime in some areas. It refers to the unwanted light from a neighbor that enters someone else’s property. This can be the light porch lights, street lights, or security lights.


Skyglow is a type of light pollution that refers to the light that covers city areas. Moreover, light that escapes from outdoor artificial lighting affects the quality of light in the atmosphere. The light then bounces back to the city and causes problems.

✅ Video – Why Light Pollution is a Problem

Tech Insider shared the video below on YouTube. It discusses why light pollution is a problem. Excessive use of lights can cause light pollution that affects the plants, humans, and wildlife. Watch the video to find out the problems that are brought about by light pollution.

Causes of Light Pollution

Causes of light pollution include poor planning, irresponsible and excessive use of lights, overpopulation, smog, and nighttime lighting. Take note that light pollution is man-made. Let us learn more about these below.

Poor Planning

One cause of light pollution is poor planning. Signage, banners, and street lamps that are not properly placed can cause glare, light clutter, and light trespass.


Overpopulation can also cause light pollution. In most cases, this can be a zoning issue. Large cities that are overpopulated can contribute to light pollution.

Irresponsible Use of Light

Another cause of light pollution is the irresponsible use of lights. While Christmas lights are used as decoration, turning them on all night can contribute to light pollution. It is recommended that you minimize the use of decorative outdoor lights.

Smog and Clouds

Another cause of light pollution is smog and clouds. Both can reflect light that is emitted by cities. As a result, it makes the surroundings look brighter while causing light pollution.

Excessive Use of Light

Excessive use of outdoor light can cause light pollution. Electricity has made life convenient, but it can also cause a lot of problems. Some people do not care about their electricity consumption and end up wasting a lot of energy. As a result, it can cause overconsumption of electricity as well as excessive use of light. We have also shared this article that discusses how to block your neighbors light. Check out the article for tips and information.

Cars and Motor Vehicle Lights

Another cause of light pollution is cars and other vehicles. At night, vehicle lights shine brightly in areas that do not have other light sources. This can also contribute to light pollution.


Streetlamps that are located near houses can cause light pollution and also affect people. If the streetlamps are not properly placed, they can cause light trespass that can impact how people sleep. Aside from that, security lights and outdoor lighting from your neighbors can also contribute to light pollution. Streetlamps and other outdoor lighting should be fully shielded to reduce light pollution.

Nighttime Lighting

Another cause of light pollution is nighttime lighting. All types of nighttime lighting can affect people and can cause light pollution. You can also check out this article that we have written that discusses if LED lights reduce light pollution. We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.

Downtown Areas

Downtown areas where excessive lighting is usually found can cause light pollution. This is because outdoor lights, banners, and signage stay on 24/7.

How Far from the City Should You Be to Avoid Light Pollution?

The farther away you are from the city, the more you can avoid light pollution. Go away about 20 to 30 miles from the city to experience a stunning view of the sky. Take note that the amount of skyglow caused by light pollution reduces as you go away from the city or any populated areas. The darker the sky, the more stars will show. You can even see meteor showers.

Is Light Pollution Illegal?

Light pollution is also considered illegal in most parts of the U.S. When people think about neighborhood nuisance, noise comes to mind. On the other hand, light pollution can be considered illegal and can cause a nuisance. Take note that a nuisance is any type of conduct that can disturb a neighbor. If your neighbor will not do anything about their lights being a nuisance, you can file a lawsuit based on common law nuisance grounds.

How to Measure Light Pollution?

You can measure light pollution using the night sky brightness or NSB. It is one of the indicators of light pollution and quantifies how bright the skyglow is. Night sky brightness is measured by combining scattered light from artificial lighting sources as well as natural emissions. You can also read this article titled, are there lights that don’t cause light pollution? We have shared tips and ideas that you can refer to.

How Does Light Pollution Affect Your Health?

Light pollution affects your health in many ways like affecting how you sleep. Take note that darkness is required so that you can live a healthy life. Before artificial light is invented, humans are used to 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. This is part of the circadian rhythm, which is your body’s internal clock. The circadian rhythm helps you fall asleep at night. On the other hand, manmade light disrupts it.


You have reached this article that discusses what is considered light pollution. Light pollution is a big problem in society and it can cause many issues. It affects not only the planet, but also the animals, wildlife, and humans. We have also shared the different causes of light pollution. Nowadays, there are different ways that you can do to help reduce light pollution. There is a different dark sky lighting fixture that you can choose from. Thank you for reading!

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