Light pollution is one of the most important problems in environments inhabited by humans. It is a contamination that leaves no physical residue but, lengthened over time, leads to problems such as insomnia, fatigue, anxiety or inability to concentrate among many others. This is because it interferes directly with the natural sleep hours, which are those of the night.
In addition, its effects are not limited only to humans, but also affects animals, both day and night. In the case of the former in a similar way as it does in the human being, 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 EcologyVerde and we’ll tell you.
What is light pollution
Light pollution is the pollution produced by artificial light . It constitutes an alteration of the environment during the night hours that directly affects most of the ecosystems where it takes place. In addition, since it is a contamination that is intangible, it can often go unnoticed or be undervalued.
However, because it directly affects living beings, it entails an important malaise that manifests, above all, in the inability to comply with the natural biorhythms of activity-restcharacteristic 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, 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 during the night . Overloading the sky with artificial light creates a “fake day” feeling in the form of an orange sky.
Examples of light pollution
As is logical, light pollution is mainly located in urban centers and in illuminated roads, since they are spaces where human presence is greater and, consequently, also artificial lighting.
Some examples of causes of light pollution that we find in cities and urban centers are:
- Public lighting.
- Traffic of vehicles.
- The advertising panels.
- The neon signs.
- The lights of the windows.
On the other hand, this contamination is minimal or non-existent in depopulated areas. This is the reason why when we are in the forest or somewhere far away we can see a lot of stars and stars, something that is impossible in a city.
Main solutions for light pollution
In reality, the solutions are quite broad and, to a certain 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 both on 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 that cause light pollution is that the streetlights and other lighting points are not well oriented. A well-oriented point of light is one that directs light only to the surface to be illuminated (usually the ground), without this allowing a part of the generated light to dissipate in other directions and, especially, in a vertical direction to the sky.
Use motion sensors
One of the problems that lead to light pollution is so widespread is that most of the bulbs, work continuously regardless of who is lighting them, which also involves a waste of energy completely unnecessary. To solve it, it is enough to install motion sensors that turn on according to the needs of each situation. In this way, the streetlamps would only be lit when there were pedestrians, significantly reducing the light pollution in the urban centers at the same time as the bill of the municipalities.
Use low pollution lamps
There are different types of lighting, both from an energy efficiency perspective and a light shade. Opting for the most efficient and least polluting lamps reduces night-time light pollution.
Illuminate only the essential
One of the most important elements when it comes to reducing light pollution (especially in urban areas) is to focus efforts on illuminating exclusively the pavements through which both people and vehicles circulate. In this way, ornamental illuminations, illuminations of empty buildings, monumental or advertising lighting, etc., would be out of this necessary illumination.
Prohibit lights projected into the sky
The light cannons, lasers and other lights projected onto the sky are a type of light that generates a very high light pollution. Its use is completely dispensable since it usually has a purely recreational function. The local authority has the competence to regulate the use of this type of lighting, so it is the municipalities that 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 very simple and well known by all. However, thanks to the use of LED bulbs (which reduce consumption and the cost of energy considerably) many people have become accustomed to leaving the lights on when they are not lighting anyone. This is a mistake. The use of LED bulbs is a great way to reduce energy consumption, but you should not fall into the error of wasting energy under the excuse that it is cheap. This type of action involves a dispensable energy expenditure and, in addition, generates a light pollution that, without being as high as that of public roads, has a considerable impact when added to it.