Light Pollution Increasing Worldwide, researchers says

The nights are growing brighter around the world as the popularity of LED lights is increasing rapidly, according to a paper published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

Researchers said Wednesday the cities are switching to more energy efficient LEDs so the distinction between day and night is disappearing with terrible consequences for human and animal health.

The study led by Christopher Kyba of the German Research Centre for Geosciences shows that the Earth’s artificially lit outdoor surfaces grew by 2.2 percent per year from 2012 to 2016. The problem occurs because nighttime lights disturb human body clocks and increase the health-related risk such as cancer, diabetes, and depression.

These LED lights can kill animals like insects by attracting them or birds or sea turtles.

A physicist at the German Research Center for Geosciences and lead author Chris Kyba said that the reason behind this problem is not just the LED lights, because the lights are very efficient as they require far less electricity to deliver the same amount of light.

The scientists analyzed the changes in artificial light over the years using the data collected by the VIIRS instrument on the Suomi NPP satellite. They performed the research to know which parts of the world became darker, brighter or didn’t change.

Kyba said, “There is a potential for the solid-state lighting revolution to save energy and reduce light pollution, but only if we don’t spend the savings on a new light.”

Experts say we can use lower intensity lights, choose LED lights instead of blue or violet as these are harmful to animals and humans.