Why light pollution is dangerous: 5 facts everyone should know

By Jurassic JennMar 30, 2024 20:05 PMPersonal Development
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Why light pollution is dangerous
Why light pollution is dangerous. Source: darksky.org

SSPDaily has prepared five facts about light pollution. Find out how artificial light sources affect the environment and our health.

The glow of the sky over Los Angeles

Many city residents have never had the opportunity to observe the beauty of the natural night sky. Interestingly, it was during a power outage caused by the 1994 earthquake that some alarmed residents reported seeing an unusual "giant silver cloud" in the darkened sky. For the first time, they actually saw the Milky Way, which had long been hidden behind a veil of light pollution.

Disruption of the natural rhythm

Exposure to artificial light disrupts the ability of trees to respond to the inherent change of seasons. Note the tree with autumn leaves, except for the leaves directly illuminated by streetlights, which retain their bright colors.

Increased climate change

In the United States alone, outdoor lighting consumes 120 terawatt-hours of energy annually, mostly illuminating streets and parking lots. Surprisingly, nearly half of this is wasted, resulting in a staggering $3.3 billion in costs and 21 million tons of CO2 emissions per year. To compensate for this huge carbon footprint, 875 million trees should be planted annually.

Premature death of millions of birds

Artificial lighting disrupts their migratory routes, forcing them to fly away or arrive at their destinations at the wrong time. The confusion created by these lights leads to countless bird deaths from collisions with lighted structures. To draw public attention to this problem, the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) perpetuates the memory of those who have died by talking about the dire consequences of light pollution on our feathered friends.

Harm to humans

Unfortunately, light pollution has replaced the concept of true darkness during sleeping hours. This disrupts our circadian rhythm - our internal biological clock, which is aligned with the 24-hour rotation of the Earth. As a result, the risk of developing life-threatening diseases increases. Of particular concern is the predominance of blue light emitted by most outdoor LED lights, computer screens, TVs and electronic displays, which exacerbates the harmful effects.

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