by Sujatha Nanjundeshwara | 01 DEC 2017
Did you know that Mother Earth is shining brighter and brighter in the night with each passing year? And no, it’s not because of the sun or any other natural causes it’s due human interference that is you and me!
Christopher Kyba from the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences and his colleagues used data from Suomi NPP to study surface light pollution and here’s what they found:
The earth’s artificially lit outdoor area rose by 2 per cent over the last couple of years. The researchers used the first ever calibrated satellite radiometer to check for night lights between 2012-2016.
In other words, as if it wasn’t bad enough that humans had polluted air, water and land, we have now caused “light pollution” as well with the earth getting brighter and brighter each year.
Feel tired or irritable all the time? Then light pollution is one of the culprits and here’s why:
You are getting lesser sleep:
If you are surrounded by strong outdoor lights, chances are you are 6% likelier to get less than 6 hours of sleep per night, than if you lived in areas of less intense light.
Leaving you fatigued and drowsy:
It’s a vicious cycle. You get lesser sleep because of the intense light and end up feeling tired and drowsy, plus have impaired functioning in the bargain.
Expose you to an increased risk of breast cancer.
Your body is exposed to strong outdoors light in the night; hence it produces lesser levels of melatonin that impacts the body’s circadian rhythms. This in turn, places you at a higher risk of falling prey to breast cancer, as a Harvard study found.
Feel moody, obese, diabetic or cancerous?
Disruption of the circadian rhythm affects you in more ways than one. Apart from an exposed risk to cancer, you may also end up being susceptible to mood swings, diabetes and even and up gaining weight.
LED light can damage your eyes.
There is no doubt that LED is considered to be better for your eyes vis-à- vis thermal lighting. However, light from the LED lights must always be from the back and not from the front say eye specialists. LED lights expose your retina to violet, indigo and blue light at a much higher level than previous light sources.
As Dr Vijay Kiran, a senior eye surgeon, said, “LED lights are highly focused and when someone is looking directly at the light then the two layers of cells near the retina get affected. Light travels through photons which are then converted into the electro-magnetic energy. LED systems have high amount of light.”
Dr M. Vamshidhar, a senior eye surgeon, said, “For the blue light effect, we have the ultra-violet B glasses and screen guards to keep the eyes safe from the exposure. But the intensity of white light in the present set up is not high. What is most important for people to understand is that they must not look at the light directly. Aggravation of glaucoma neuropathy and disturbance in sleep are some of the ill-effects. But there is no scientific evidence to prove it.”
Dr K. Shekar Rao added, “Sleeplessness due to the high exposure to white light is seen in the case of computers, tablets and other gadgets which are used during the night time.”
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