If you live in the city or a densely populated area you’ve probably looked up at the sky and wondered where all the stars have gone. Light pollution refers to an excess amount of light and is a relatively well known form of pollution. However when people think of light pollution the main problem is that you cannot see stars but there are many more problems and facts that lie unbeknown to many.
Despite there being little understanding regarding the adverse effects of light pollution, research has shown that artificial light can alter physiology which including the balance of hormones, human behavior, fitness, food web interactions and orientation. This man made disturbance not only can have medical consequences for humans but also effects nature in that the evolutionary system of plants, animals and marine is altered.
Several studies have specifically shown that light pollution can have effects on humans such as frequent headaches/migraines, feeling fatigued, increased stress and anxiety and in some cases a decreased libido. There is also studies which claim that there is a direct correlation between light pollution and breast cancer, caused by the suppression of normal nocturnal melatonin.
However, there are steps that can be taken to help prevent the adverse effects of light pollution. There is currently new technology that can be used by engineers that uses the ‘full cut off’ concept. This means that any light from large commercial areas, densely populated areas, stadiums etc will be reduced. Currently, 30% of road light fittings in the UK now need changing after reaching their lifespan, this would be a good opportunity to invest in this technology to help reduce light pollution.
Another step that can be taken by individuals is to install motion sensor bulbs and light fittings in their homes. This way lights are not being used unnecessarily and are not on at night. Any lights which are placed outside such as garden lights must use low watt bulbs and should not be too bright.