Jan 5, 2018: Light pollution has increased worldwide because of we are lighting everything with energy saving LED lights, whose cost is decreasing every year. Experts say that the problem is not with the LED lights, but the fact that the world is getting brighter with LED lights as the whole world is adopting it and even illuminating places we never bothered to light before. And that is causing its own environmental cost. These findings were published in the journal Science Advances, which found that artificially lit outdoor surfaces grew at a pace of 2.2% each year between 2012 and 2016.
According to physicist and lead author Chris Kyba, “With few exceptions, growth in lighting occurred throughout South America, Africa, and Asia.” The report analyzed the nighttime lights using a specially designed radiometer mounted on a satellite. “We’ll light something that we didn’t light before, like a bicycle path though a park or a section of highway leading outside of town that in the past wasn’t lit,” he said.
Researchers found a few rare declines in war-torn places like Syria and Yemen; while Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the US, which make up some of the world’s brightest areas, remained relatively stable.
Countries are adopting LED lighting due to environmental concerns and because LED lighting is more long-lasting and energy saving. But in the process, there is the risk of too much light which leads to a new set of problems—light pollution.
The paper notes that artificial light emission into the environment will “continue to increase, further eroding Earth’s remaining land area that experiences natural day-night light cycles. This is concerning because artificial light is an environmental pollutant.” The report cites other research reports that show how light pollution threatens nocturnal animals, plants and micro-organisms and is “increasingly suspected of affecting human health.” Light even affects our body clocks and our sleeping patterns, and a lack of sleep makes us more susceptible to a range of health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression.