Light Pollution. What is Light Pollution?Pollution is never something desirable in a community. When most people think of pollution, there are obvious associations that come to mind--smog, poor air quality, and contaminated water are serious issues. However, there are other forms of pollution that also negatively effect a community that are often overlooked. One example is light pollution. What is light pollution? Light pollution is excess artificial light introduced by humans which changes the environment in which we live. Any person living near a city or even a moderately sized town is effected by this form of pollution. Clear views of the beautiful, starry, night sky are no longer as plentiful as they once were.
One of the most visible and common forms of light pollution is sky glow. This is the illuminated haze that seems to linger over cities and towns at night. The sky glow of some cities can be seen for miles around, obscuring any view of the stars. A map of light pollution can be used to put this into perspective. A satellite image is taken at night over an area, and the full view of this illumination can be seen. Many individual factors contribute to this glow. Poorly designed street lamps and traffic lights allow light to shine up into the atmosphere instead of directing it toward the ground.
Light pollution can have serious effects on members of the community. Excess light can increase levels of stress, sleeplessness, and mood related disorders such as anxiety and depression. It can also disrupt the natural rhythm of life. It is harmful to the environment as well. The energy wasted in creating all of that excess light adds significantly to global warming. In addition, ecosystems can be disturbed as nocturnal and crepuscular animals are unable to function properly in the presence of so much excess light. For these reasons, it is important to be an active member in your community and be aware of the things you can do to prevent light pollution.
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