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It is hard to imagine how light could destroy the environment. All associations link it with nature are only positive. Plants, animals, and people are closely connected in the cycle of matter, which the beginning of is the light. Life on our planet exists only due to the sun, and seems natural and absolutely necessary factor. Just as, artificial light - essential in the modern world. However, it is a source of danger, which significance and dimensions we have just been recognizing.

By time of improving and popularizing a light bulb Thomas Edison probably didn’t think that would start the era of illuminated planet and force us to confront the serious problem. This difficult issue is light pollution – namely entering into the atmosphere undesirable and harmful light created by human. Artificial light sources make that the nights are more and more brighter.

How scared we all should be?

Light pollution affects us. Disappear natural difference between night and day, which results in sleep disorders and the functioning of the whole organism. Especially it is affects sleep disruption and melatonin suppression. This hormone, secreted mainly during the night, plays an important role in the functioning of the human biological clock, and drastic disturbances in the melatonin production increasing the risk of the incidence of some types of cancer.

The threat to wildlife

Lots of species are really sensitive to artificial light. Nocturnal habits of amphibians such as frogs are disturbed by interrupt natural light–dark cycle and it leads to confusion migratory fish, many insects like moths and night-migratory birds. Consequently, species have disappeared in the area, which has a disastrous impact on the entire ecosystems. Susceptible to this type of pollution are also plants that treat artificial light as an extension of the day.

Look at the stars!

We lost sight of the sky, in which our ancestors had gazed at. We are no longer able to see the Milky Way from large urban areas, and when the inhabitants of big cities want to watch natural phenomenon, e.g. shooting stars, some of the larger objects have to be turn off. It may seem like a trivial case, but shows how light pollution affects the environment. In Poland the dark sky places remained just a few: http://www.ciemneniebo.pl/pl/obszary-cn-000.  Maybe you are lucky and live close to one of them? If so, you have the good fortune to admire the beautiful and starry sky.

Waste of light and money

By the time the urban lighting has become not only a pragmatic solution, but also an integral part of the city scenery, it is difficult to imagine to renounce it.  And it isn't necessary! We just must manage every light emitter responsibly, because lots of them are installed inappropriate: they are excessive and misdirected and also use when it's not needful.

The main issue now is to plan duly the illumination and economic is the easiest motivation. Above all, less power consumption means lower energy costs! And the money saved in this way could be use by the cities and other organization so much better than energy wasting.

Profits for the environment

Urban light pollution is not only risk associated with the illuminance, but also with the large power consumption. World energy production is based predominantly on fossil fuels, combustion of them produces air pollutants and leads to imbalance of nature. Reducing light pollution implies not only eliminating consequences of it, but also protects the whole planet.

But what can we do?

Let's protect the dark sky your own way. Check in your surroundings if the type of lighting is appropriate and is installed in places where it is needed. Interest local community in this matter and discuss the economic benefits of good urban lighting. Profits include not only money savings, but will primarily protect the environment and  give a chance to see the night sky in all it’s glory.

Literature:

Weronika Śliwa, Jakie są skutki zanieczyszczania światłem i jak się z nim walczy?, dostęp: http://www.swiatnauki.pl/8,461.html
Czym jest zanieczyszczenie światłem?, dostęp: http://www.astro.uni.wroc.pl/ciemna-strona-swiatla/css1/css1.html
Informacje zawarte na stronie programu Ciemne Niebo, dostęp: http://www.ciemneniebo.pl/pl/


Agnieszka Szostok

Fascinated by nature and healthy lifestyle. Environmental engineering student, with passion combining new technology and need of environmental protection.

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