North America, Western Europe, Japan and Korea, night has become a constant twilight. In a natural night sky, someone looking at the heavens should be able to see nearly 3500 stars and planets and the glow from the Milky Way, our galaxy. But in some brightly lit cities, the number of visible stars has dwindled to about a few dozen. 4.
And for many wildlife species, light pollution seems to be as grave as environmental threat as bulldozed habitats and toxic- chemical dumping. 5. Lighting from office towers confuse migratory birds which fly into buildings lit up at night. Millions of birds in North America die from these crashes. Researchers have noticed since the asses that artificial lights along ocean beaches confuse millions of baby turtles. Observers say that the turtles instinctively crawl to the brightest thing on the horizon – normally the reflection of the moon on the sea.
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But where beaches are illuminated, baby turtles often crawl to the lit roads, where they are flattened by cars, or wander in circles on the beach. Once day breaks, they bake to death in the sun. 6. Sea turtles and birds are clearly in peril because of light at night, but scientists have begun to study whether human may share something of the same fate. Richard Steven, a US Epidemiologist, has developed the idea that night light can disrupt critical hormonal levels that affect human health.
Stevens came to this conclusion while trying to solve the puzzle of why breast cancer risk is five times higher in industrialized societies than in non-industrialized countries. 7. Stevens turned to literature on circadian rhythms- the 24-hour biological clock that guides daily body functions – and on melatonin, a hormone most living ratters produce only in darkness. In a study published in 2001, Stevens says that there is ‘mounting evidence to suggest that disruption of the melatonin rhythm may lead to chronic fatigue, depression, reproduction anomalies and perhaps even cancer’.
Melatonin is produced in the brain’s pineal gland only when the eyes signal it is dark. Those working under lighting at night could be reducing the amount of melatonin they produce. 8. Travis Longer, Science Director at the Urban Wild lands Group (a Los Angels conservation group), says that light pollution should be achieving the same attention as other environmental ills. Canada has set up a conservation reserve north of Toronto, the first in the world to preserve a pristine night sky.
Conservationists are hoping to expand the area of preserved night sky beyond the parks boundaries by encouraging local municipalities to curtail the use of poorly designed night lighting. 9. In the United States, the International Dark-Sky Light pollution By preponderated with the bulbs recesses into the fixture so that the light does not glare out horizontally or upwards. Lamps that direct a light beam at the ground use less electricity and do not uselessly light the sky.
While the health and environmental impacts of night pollution are starting to capture attention, Dave Crawford, the executive director of IDA, has other concerns too. He too worries that light may be making people sick and harming wildlife, but he says the fading of the heavens could also cause a fading of the human imagination – in many ways a greater long-term threat. 10. Writers and artists have been drawn inspiration from the night sky. Says Crawford, “It’s the glamour and wonder of the universe we live in. We’ve got to preserve that. ”