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Debate: Light pollution

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Is light pollution a problem and should we try to fix it?

Background and context

Light pollution is the illumination of the night sky caused by artificial light sources on the ground (streetlights, billboards, etc.). Both the light and the loss of contrast make it difficult to find fainter stars and nebulae. The amount of outdoor lighting increases as a result of increasing population. As cities and suburban areas grow, the number of lights at night also increases. Lights, contrast, and glare all impact the number of stars that are visible in a given location. Only the brightest stars are visible when there is a lot of nighttime lighting.

Outdoor lighting is used for many reasons including security, sporting events, and advertising. Some outdoor lighting is more efficient in its design and/or placement and limits the amount of light shining up or away from the intended purpose. Using lights at night can be helpful, but there are trade-offs in the form of unanticipated effects.

Lights at night can impact both the biology and ecology of species in the wild. Some examples include:

  • The disorientation of sea turtle hatchlings by beachfront lighting
  • Nesting choices and breeding success of birds
  • Behavioral and physiological changes in salamanders
  • Disturbances of nocturnal animals
  • Altered natural light regimes in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems
  • A dull and unclear view of the sky and the stars

This information is from a US government website. US government websites are not copyrighted

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Is light pollution a problem?

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Yes

  • It disrupts wildlife. Excessive light pollution in cities can result in the disruption of wildlife due to the confusion caused by the artificial light level over day and night.
  • Stars would be far more visible and interesting if light pollution didn't exist. In some major cities like New York and sometimes Paris and London, the stars are not visible at all because of light pollution. Even in smaller cities, light pollution blocks the view of the sky. The night sky would be far more interesting and has proven to be better without light pollution. Initiatives like Earth Hour help light pollution to ease and makes the view of the sky much more visible. It is not a life or death situation but this still is a problem and astronomers would love the problem to be fixed. Even Lisa Simpson ( From The Simpsons) has a strong dislike of light pollution and Springfield temporarily fixes the problem in one episode.


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No

  • It doesn't harm anyone. Light pollution is only a bit of light. It has never been known to cause any serious illnesses.




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Can light pollution be eradicated?

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Yes

  • It is caused by humans, so humans can eradicate it. Humans can easily stop using some things that produce light. This may be inconvenient for some people but it would be successful in eradicating light pollution.




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No

  • Humans are used to using electrical goods. Humans are now very used to electrical goods, and as a result they would struggle to stop using them.




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Should light pollution be eradicated?

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Yes

  • It disrupts wildlife and can easily be stopped. Excessive light pollution in cities can result in the disruption of wildlife due to the confusion caused by the artificial light level over day and night. In addition, this problem can easily be prevented by eradicating light pollution. It can easily be stopped, too, simply by reducing the lights that are on during the night. Councils and governments should consider dimming lights to make light pollution lees of a problem.


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No

  • There are no problems with light pollution. Light pollution is only a bit of light. It has never been known to cause any serious illnesses.




See also

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