Light pollution is one of the most important problems in human-inhabited environments. It is a pollution that does not leave physical residues but that, extended over time, leads to problems such as insomnia, fatigue, anxiety or inability to concentrate among many others. This is because it directly interferes with your natural sleep hours, which are at night.
In addition, its effects are not limited only to humans, but also affect animals, both diurnal and nocturnal. In the case of the former in a similar way as it does in humans, while in the latter it hinders their biorhythms and some of their natural activities. If you want to know more about this phenomenon and solutions for light pollution, read Green Ecology and we will tell you about it.
- What is light pollution
- Examples of light pollution
- Main solutions for light pollution
What is light pollution
Light pollution is the pollution produced by artificial light . It constitutes an alteration of the environment during the hours of the night that directly affects most of the ecosystems where it takes place. In addition, as it is a contamination that is intangible, it can often go unnoticed or be undervalued.
However, because it directly affects living beings, it entails a significant discomfort that manifests itself, above all, in the inability to comply with the natural activity-rest biorhythms of each species. In fact, light pollution has an important effect on the trophic chains of nocturnal animals, since it directly affects the ability to hunt and, therefore, to feed.
However, its effects can be felt beyond living beings, for example, in the impossibility of seeing the night sky, since light pollution prevents the vision of the stars and most other celestial phenomena at night . Overloading the sky with artificial light creates a feeling of “false day” in the form of an orange sky.
Examples of light pollution
As is logical, light pollution is located mainly in urban centers and illuminated roads, since they are the spaces where the human presence is greater and, consequently, artificial lighting is also present.
Some examples of causes of light pollution that we find in cities and urban centers are:
- Public lighting.
- Vehicle traffic.
- Advertising panels.
- The neon signs.
- The lights from the windows.
On the other hand, this contamination is minimal or non-existent in unpopulated areas. This is the reason why when we are in the forest or somewhere far away we can observe a large number of stars and stars, something that is impossible in a city.
Main solutions for light pollution
In reality, the solutions are quite comprehensive and to some extent simple to carry out. However, this requires the will of the institutions and social awareness so that citizens are aware of this problem and the important effects it has on both human health and the different ecosystems it affects. Some of the solutions for light pollution are:
Orient the lighting points well
One of the main problems caused by light pollution is that streetlights and other lighting points are not well oriented. A well-oriented light point is one that directs the light only to the surface to be illuminated (generally the ground), without allowing a part of the light generated to dissipate in other directions and, especially, in the vertical direction to the sky.
Use motion sensors
One of the problems that leads to light pollution being so widespread is that most bulbs work continuously regardless of whether they are lighting someone, which also leads to a completely unnecessary energy waste. To solve it, simply install motion sensors that turn on according to the needs of each situation. In this way, the streetlights would only be turned on when there were pedestrians, considerably reducing light pollution in urban centers at the same time as the bill from the Town Halls.
Use low-polluting lamps
There are different types of lighting, both from an energy efficiency perspective and a light tone. Opting for the most efficient and least polluting lamps reduces nighttime light pollution.
Illuminate only what is essential
One of the most important elements when it comes to reducing light pollution (especially in urban centers) is to focus efforts on exclusively illuminating the pavements on which both people and vehicles circulate. In this way, ornamental lighting, empty building lighting, monumental or advertising lighting, etc., would be excluded from this necessary lighting.
Ban lights projected into the sky
Light cannons, lasers and other lights projected into the sky are a type of light that generates very high light pollution. Its use is completely dispensable, since it generally has a purely recreational function. The local authority has competence to regulate the use of this type of lighting, so it is the City Councils who have the ability to avoid this source of light pollution so widespread in some places.
Turn off the lights when we are not using them
It seems something very simple and well known by all. However, thanks to the use of LED bulbs (which reduce energy consumption and cost considerably) many people have become accustomed to leaving their lights on when they are not shining on anyone. This is a mistake. The use of LED bulbs is a great way to reduce energy consumption, but you should not make the mistake of wasting energy under the excuse that it is cheap. This type of action entails expendable energy expenditure and, in addition, generates light pollution that, without being as high as that of public roads, has a considerable impact when added to it.
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