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Remove LED Display Boards at Cubbon Park

(picture courtesy Indian Express)

Ms. Kusuma

DD Cubbon Park

Bangalore 560001

Dear Madam:

Subject: Request for Removal of LED Signboards at Cubbon Park

Citizens of Bangalore, and particularly aficionados of Cubbon park watched with great concern the emergence of 50 LED signboards spaced across Cubbon Park roads. None of us in the public have had any information or notice it was coming up last year - or any idea of why it was constructed in the first place, what purpose it serves, or what basis it was decided to insert the signage at all. Several of us had emailed our objections.

We understand that BESCOM set this up only on a pilot or test project under its Smart Light Campaign for a period of a year in June 2019 , so we are happy to share our views on its continuance. We do not want this. In addition, given the BBMP ruling on signage and outdoor hoardings, even though these LED boards are for a purely informative and internal point of view , we do feel that that should have gone through the proper procedure before setting it up in the first place.

What is important to note is this signage is poorly designed and set up, hurtful to the eye, visually anesthetic and unappealing, pose a serious traffic hazard as it distracts vehicle drivers with its LED flash and distracting moving visuals. From the flora and fauna point of view it is extremely negative in impact. Lastly Parks worldwide have disallowed or even banned such outdoor signage and particularly LED and wireless, so this is a vast departure from Horticulture park global standards.

The annexure below has initial inputs from experts on the subject, including planners, scientists from IISc, biologists and heritage experts.  We would earnestly request you to heed their considered view and do use this lock down period to have them immediately removed, and beauty and ecology restored in the park.

As we understand, these signboards have been done by kind courtesy Bescom as a pilot project for the period of one year in June 2019, and since the general public opinion has been quite negative about this, may we request you to please have this removed at the earliest, before the testing period elapses.

Try as we might, we have seen no upside at all about having these boards at the park, and neither has the signage messaging been either positively observed or actioned. We know your respect and regard for citizen views, scientifically backed claims and are happy to also connect a delegation of experts and share this point of view in person at the earliest. Once again, our deepest thanks for all the wonderful work done at Cubbon Park and we hope to continue to partner and support you in any way we can.

Thanking you

Yours Sincerely

Priya Chetty-Rajagopal

#HeritageBeku

Cc: Mr. RK Kataria, Secretary, Horticulture

Cc: Dr Jagdish JD Horticulture Dept, Lalbagh

Cc: Mr. Rajesh Gowda, MD BESCOM

Cc: Ms. Revathy Ashok, MD, BPAC

Few Expert Views on LED Signboards at Cubbon Park :

Prof TV Ramachandra , Professor & Ecologist, IISc

This would impact the ecology evident from the nocturnal animals’ response to the lights. There are studies highlighting the pollinator's (bees, etc.) mortality due to light pollution so also birds, etc.

Decision makers need to understand the implications of mismanaging the nature..

Laxmi Nagaraj , Urban Planner, California

Strict regulations on not having LED signs in areas that are ‘heritage’ spaces. Cubbon Park is a heritage park with natural and scenic beauty in abundance and these signs are absolutely not compatible with the surroundings and is therefore an eye sore. Whatever the sign displays can be accommodated on the existing signage that is sensitive to the surroundings. Regulations PROHIBITING such signs should be immediately drafted and enforced. The LED signs are almost as large as billboards which are strictly prohibited in scenic surroundings.

Prof Yashaswini Sharma, Architect and Conservationist

Long time exposure to blue peaks and light emitted by LED can cause retinal damage. Why would the Government install LED sign displays in a green heritage precinct meant to benefit health? It is also a distraction for smaller wildlife that thrive in the park.

Sreedevi Changali , Architect & Conservationist , MasonInk

Yes, they are terrible and without doubt an eye sore. Could probably check what purpose they are serving and integrate it better with the existing signage (done by a company called sensing local).

Gopi Sundar, Scientist, Nature Conservation Foundation -

1. They are far too bright and damage sensitive corneas

2. Their wavelength is very limited so they don’t attract insects etc which a lot of animals can feed on

3. The “green” value of LED is only with respect to electricity usage and that too only if intensity and wattage is low so it does not damage eyes.

Global park standards:

Prohibited signs

· Neon signs, LED or similar accent lighting not permitted

· Signs which emit audible noise, door or visible matter not permitted

· A sign or illumination that causes glare not permitted

· A sign that emits flashing or intermittent lights not permitted

Billboard prohibition

· Excessive or Inadequately controlled signs endanger the unique character or scenic beauty

· The proliferation in number, increase in size, use of special effects in message presentation distracts

Therefore, all the above type of billboards and signs shall be prohibited

Some useful links

1. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2019/jun/08/led-display-screens-light-up-cubbon-park-1987255.html

2. https://www.ibtimes.co.in/dark-side-led-displays-cubbon-park-how-light-pollution-can-damage-wildlife-habitat-805740 (Prof MB Krishna’s comments are highlighted here)

3. https://www.timesnownews.com/mirror-now/society/article/bengaluru-s-cubbon-park-goes-hi-tech-with-environmental-sensors-smart-leds-garden-city-of-india-silicon-valley-technology/389046

https://newsable.asianetnews.com/video/news/smart-light-led-screens-greet-walkers-at-cubbon-park-ps9...Read more at:https://newsable.asianetnews.com/video/news/smart-light-led-screens-greet-walkers-at-cubbon-park-ps96by