Light pollution is wiping the Milky Way from Spanish skies

Light pollution hides the Milky Way from Europeans and above all from the Spanish. Six in ten Europeans cannot find the characteristic band of light (composed of millions of stars) in the night sky that reminds us that we are not the only ones in the star quarter. Despite this alarming trend, light pollution continues to rise. According to a recent study conducted by the Supreme Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), pollution from city lights increased by almost 50% in the last quarter of the century.

Researchers describe this figure as “alarming”, and it’s even higher in Spain, Europe’s third-highest light pollution country. and with higher spending per capita on public lighting. In our country, this growth was at least 57% between 1992 and 2012. It should come as no surprise that Spain currently lacks control over light pollution, except in certain areas such as La Palma, north of Tenerife, and Catalonia.

In preparation for an alarming arrangement

Currently on public display Draft new decree law whose aim is to reduce energy consumption and light pollution. However, scientists and stargazing associations have positioned themselves against the Statutory Decree, arguing that it “makes no guarantees that what it pursues will actually be done.”

In fact, they say this rule can only exacerbate the problem, scientific and astronomical entities taking action. bring a lawsuit against you. Therefore, the draft regulation did not go through the second public hearing and was suspended from November 2021.

Light pollution degrees agencies

Light pollution is caused by artificial light emissions that cause an imbalance in the ecosystem. If luminaires are not installed and designed correctly, they will radiate light into the sky and cause this type of pollution that ‘blocks’ the stars, filling everything with light. Excessive power and use of light where it is not needed are also harmful to the species.

LEDs made the problem worse

Examining light emissions from 1992 to 2017, the study highlights the latent impact of the transition to solid-state light-emitting diode (LED) technology. LEDs emit more blue light than previous lamp technologies, but satellite sensors are blind to blue light and therefore underestimate the emission level.

“Our study shows that the problem is much more serious than we thought, and that we can talk about an increase that can reach 270% worldwide and 400% in some regions.”, underlines Alejandro Sánchez de Miguel, researcher at the University of Exeter and doctor associated with the IAA-CSIC, who coordinated the study. Therefore, blue light pollution in Spain could have increased “only” 15% more than in 1992, or up to 300%.

Light pollution area of ​​interest

In this sense already There are some companies that are trying to differentiate themselves to find alternatives to the severe light pollution the planet is exposed to.. “It’s time to go a step further, it’s not enough to use lights that reduce spending, it’s also important that organizations encourage companies to use those that are more respectful of the environment,” says Raquel Pereira, the company’s marketing director. Roblan.

These Spanish manufacturers of LED lighting products, Certificate from the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC)Being environmentally friendly, it proves that road or outdoor lighting is suitable for installation even in the most sensitive areas.

This problem not only affects spending, probability of traffic accident due to glare or in the impossibility of enjoying the starry sky; Light pollution changes the biological cycles of humans, animals and plants.

Specifically, they Birds and pollinating insects are most affected by disorientation and changes in their cycles. something that harms the biodiversity of species. Lighting systems change behavioral patterns, direct migrations, and alter feeding and breeding habits. And the vast majority of animal and plant species, including humans, need nightfall to live properly.

“It is critical that these areas be illuminated with efficient and non-polluting systems, such as certified LEDs, which reflect the full color of the light and prevent waste towards the sky,” says María Hernández, project director at Roblan.

Reference Work:


Environment department contact

Source: Informacion


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