Visual contamination


Visual pollution is the excessive presence of elements foreign to the environment and that alter its aesthetics.

It is studied because, in addition to not being caused by natural elements, it is disjointed, invasive, excessive and, therefore, complex to process for the human eye.

Origin of visual contamination

There are different types and it is classified by the factors that intervene in it, which can be direct external or indirect external.

Direct external factors

The direct external factors of visual pollution are:

  • Consumerism: A tendency to carry out impulse purchases that are attributed to visual saturation, derived from advertising messages displayed on streets, rooftops, billboards, walls, canopies, etc.
  • Transculturation: Influence and transfer of customs derived from globalization and driven by social networks. They are a reiterative source of disjointed messages, which detach people from their own culture of origin.

Indirect external factors

Indirect external factors of visual pollution include:

  • Waste and trash: Dirt in an area, showing unhygienic, messy, and chaotic environments.This fosters carelessness, indifference, stress, apathy, detachment, lack of sense of belonging and aggressiveness of the people who inhabit it.
  • Misaligned constructions: When there is a neglected, damaged, deteriorated urban architecture, streets with holes or ditches. There is a negative image of the place. What can cause a fall in the price of real estate in the area.
  • Luminous: It is one that presents intense light, such as advertisements with neon signs or reflectors. This occurs when advertising or buildings do not comply with the legislation of the area.

Importance of knowing the degree of visual contamination

Since visual pollution is intrusive, there are consequences for human health. Some of them are listed below.

  • When the visual content of a message on the Internet demands the full attention of a person, it generates a significant distraction. And this implies a complete abstraction from its environment.
  • Faced with excess information, it can generate alterations in the nervous system and stress.
  • Increase in vehicular accidents.
  • Faced with changes in the mood of exposed people and stress due to the saturation of colors and elements, it can cause disorders in attention, headaches and a reduction in productivity.
  • The human brain is overwhelmed by a host of visual meanings. That is why it reaches a saturation point of information that cannot be understood. Therefore, it will lodge in the subconscious of the viewer.

Some of the economic consequences are:

  • Reduced productivity at work.
  • Increase in stress rates and increase in traffic accidents, which causes an increase in the costs of health services.
  • The buildings or neglected streets give a bad appearance, which causes that investments are reduced, because it affects the businesses in those areas.

Measurement of visual contamination

It is possible to estimate the visual pollution levels from advertising in an area. By the following calculations:

PAP = (NAP / CMF) * 100


PAP = Percentage of advertisements by area.

NAP = Number of advertisements.

CMF = Every 100 meters of facade.

It is also possible to estimate visual pollution due to non-compliance with the regulations of the area, for example, as follows:



PAPNCA = Percentage of advertisements that do not comply with the norm in the area.

NAPNNA = Number of advertisements that do not comply with the norm in the area.

NAPT = Number of total advertisements per 100 meters.

On the other hand, and in order to know an approximation regarding the perception of the presence of visual pollution, it is possible to estimate it by conducting surveys of people who transit or live in a certain area.

PPCV = (NPTPCV / NTPE) * 100


PPCV = Percentage of presence of visual contamination.

NPTPCV = Number of people who tolerate the presence of visual contamination.

NTPE = Total number of people surveyed.

Now, in order to interpret the results obtained from the aforementioned mathematical operations, it can be classified as follows:

  • From 76% to 100% = High level.
  • From 51% to 75% = Medium-high level.
  • From 26% to 50% = Low medium level
  • From 1% to 25% = Low level.

Actions to reduce visual pollution

Keeping in mind the harmful effects on human health and the economic impacts that visual pollution can have, it can be combated with the following measures:

  • Respect the rules established by the authorities.
  • Carry out specific monitoring of the regulations established by area.
  • Improve urban regulations and laws to promote health, in this sense.
  • Make decisions that reduce consumerism and opt for responsible consumption.

Tags:  Business cryptocurrencies passes 

Interesting Articles