You must have read & recited the poem ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ in your childhood days. Kids still read & recite the poem. But there’s a difference in their recitation.While we used to recite it in starry nights, they just watch twinkling stars in a youtube video.What else can they do ?
Those starry nights are no longer visible. Even in a small town , there are only a few stars you can see by naked eyes. Future generations will see the starry nights only in pictures.
Now you can’t just point out your finger in the north to show someone the pole star.
Now the question is why ? Why the night sky is vanishing ? Why the Milky Way is fading ? Why the stars are no longer visible ?
Well , the reason is light pollution. With the advancement of more & more LEDs , the milky way is now no longer visible to more than a third population of the world. Those thousands of stars have just turned into hundreds.
Buildings’ lights , residents’ lights , street lights, vehicles’ lights , neon signs. Well , this much amount of light is creating a permanent ‘skyglow’ at night,which is obscuring that beautiful sight.
Is it only about the stars ? No , excessive lighting at night has other adverse consequences too –
1. It can disrupt our sleep , or in long run can cause stress.
2. It is waste of energy , not all the lights you see in cities at night , are needed. A lot of buildings or streets just glow for the sake of beauty.Thus , a lot of energy get wasted.
3. It’s not good for animals , birds & ecosystem. Migratory birds often get bewildered by lighting buildings , sea turtles lose their ability to navigate in ocean due to the confusion lighting from coastal create. There’re evidences that artificial lighting make it harder for the zooplankton to eat harmful algae in lakes , thus degrades the water quality.
And of course this one consequence is also there , from which I started the blog. Future generation will not be able to see the milky way without a telescope , thus it”ll lessen their interest in astronomy. It”ll lessen their sense about vastness of Universe.
Of course , the street lighting is necessary , but not for the show off. Unnecessary lighting can be avoided. Street lights can be replaced by more focused LEDs which only send light downward rather than those lights which scatter the lights in all directions. There can be other ways to reduce the light pollution. As it is said “Where there’s a will , there’s a way”.