There are a lot of things that pollute the environment, and as pointed out by the latest research, artificial lights are one such example. A new study shows that the planet is losing its dark nights. The research team based its analysis on satellite-collected data, and the findings showed a worrisome trend.
Light Pollution and Its Effects on the Health
The fact that artificial lights are now present in more places can have a significant impact on our health. Electric light made outdoor lighting rise almost 5% every year over the 20th century. Despite the fact that it comes with benefits such as safety and an increased productivity, it also has its drawbacks. One of them is that night is no longer dark anymore.
All living creatures, including humans, have developed in accordance with the natural day-night cycle. Usually, the only source of light at night should be the moon, wildfires, or auroras. More than 60% of invertebrates and 30% of vertebrates are nocturnal species. Now, the increasing light pollution can affect their development. Even microbes and plants are affected by artificial lights.
Humans are also more influenced by the artificial lights that might be initially believed. The human body is used to the day-night cycle, and it has some physiological processes that only happen at night. The other physiological processes, which occur during the day, work against the one at night. Researchers mentioned that working night shifts can cause a disbalance in our system. This can, in turn, lead to obesity, diabetes, and depression. Also, because of the light pollution, there are fewer stars which can be seen in the sky at night.
The study is based on data collected every October from 2012 to 2016. Not only did the surface of the lit outdoors grow, but also did its radiance. This means that every year, the light pollution extends more and more. Also, yellow lights were replaced with LED lights, which can be even more disturbing for nocturnal animals. Researchers mentioned that they are working with cities to try and reverse this trend.
The study’s current findings were released in the journal Science Advances.
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