What is visual pollution? Concept, Causes, Effects and Examples

What is visual pollution?

We explain what visual pollution is, its causes and the different effects it produces. In addition, their possible solutions and examples.

What is visual pollution

Visual pollution presents elements such as posters, cables, posts, advertisements, etc.

Just as pollution is the presence in the environment of toxic substances or substances alien to its physical and chemical cycles, we call visual pollution the presence of visual elements in a landscape that interrupt its aesthetics, violate its perception of the whole and hinder the perception of the environment.

Visual pollution can occur in both rural and urban environments, given the presence of non-architectural elements such as posters, antennas, cables, posts, advertisements, gratings, among other possible factors that generate a visual over-stimulation of an aggressive, invasive and generally simultaneous nature.

This type of irruption generates a significant environmental impact, as its impact on the quality of life in polluted environments is notorious and considerable.

These are usually elements that contradict the aesthetic or panoramic tendency of the landscape, introducing alien visual content that ugly or corrupts the environment.

Like other forms of pollution, visual pollution requires regulations, laws and ordinances to keep it below the minimum limits of what is acceptable. Highly visually contaminated environments generate rejection and force people to flee quickly.

 Causes of visual pollution

Visual pollution tends to be a consequence of human activity.

Visual pollution, like other forms of pollution, tends to be a consequence of human activity.

Advertising, urban sprawl, industrialization and agricultural life often leave visual traces of their existence, many of which are not designed to interfere as little as possible with the environment or even designed to highlight as much of it as possible.

All this tension that visual pollutants put on passers-by, forcing them to pay their attention or distracting them from what could be a friendly or peaceful environment, ends up scaring people away or, if they can’t, stressing them and making them suffer.

Effects of visual pollution

The main effects of visual pollution on humans point to increased stress, which significantly deteriorates their living, working or developmental conditions.

Stress can have an impact on people’s cardiovascular health, their emotional or psychological health and even reduce their productivity margins by constantly distracting them.

On the other hand, visual pollution has a negative impact on tourism and recreational activities, as it turns hostile environments that should be harmonious or peaceful, and this in turn has economic and social consequences.

Solutions to visual contamination

Some possible solutions for environmental pollution are:

  1. Reduction and control of the number of advertisements or other types of advertisements allowed in a specific urban or rural area.
  2. Frequent removal of obsolete signs, posters, and other announcements, especially when they are large and brightly colored.
  3. Planning of protected areas within cities, such as parks and other environments that allow visual and auditory rest.
  4. To visually program the urban and architectural development of the city, allowing the people to exercise control in that sense.
  5. Protection and promotion of trees in the city.

Examples of visual contamination

The abandonment of bulky buildings is an example of visual pollution.

Some possible examples of visual contamination are:

  1. The excessive presence of poles and electricity or telephone wiring in important natural or tourist landscapes.
  2. The overcrowding of the fast roads intra or extra urban with publicity and big announcements with lights, movement, colors.
  3. The placement of advertisements and messages on light poles, walls and trees during election campaigns, which after the elections are not removed and remain in place for months or even years.
  4. The abandonment of bulky or tall unfinished buildings in cities.

Hearing Contamination

Just as there is visual pollution, there is also auditory pollution (also called noise pollution): the presence of annoying or deafening noises in quiet environments, or the excess of simultaneous sounds in a given area.

This form of pollution produces stressful and overwhelming effects not only on human beings, but also on other forms of life, and may in the long term lead to occasional physical or medical damage.

Increased stress, damage to the hearing system and even headaches and symptoms of disorientation or stunning can occur in highly acoustically contaminated environments.

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