Turn off the lights

We live in a city; we breathe, see, hear, and smell every day. Our health is closely linked with everything in the city — that’s why pollution came into my brain first when I saw the topic: public health.

Chicago as a metropolitan city, has large population and developed public transportation, ranked NO.2 of the number of completed or topped out skyscrapers in the US and NO.5 in the world. We enjoy the convenience that a metropolitan city offers us, but we also have to afford the negative effects that the development brought to us: the pollution.

The main pollution in urban area is air pollution. In addition to the industrialization, the major pollution source may come from transportation. As Barney Cohen said, “Congestion in many large cities can also be extremely severe and air pollution is now a serious environmental concern in many cities. Concentrations of carbon monoxide, lead, and suspended particulate matter in many large cities greatly exceed World Health Organization guidelines. Among the greatest environmental health concerns are exposure to fine particulate matter and to lead which contributes to learning disability in young children.” As time goes on, most of our generations would born and grow up in urban area, the impact of pollution on human health may be more and more serious.

Here is the data of Chicago pollution. Surprisedly, the most serious pollution in Chicago is not air pollution.屏幕截图(12)

According to the statistics by numbeo.com, the light pollution becomes the major pollution in Chicago area.

We might not realize that we are exposing to the light pollution all the time. During the day times, it could be the sunlight reflected by glass buildings; at night, it could be street lights and car lights. People rarely know the harm of light pollution, according to international dark-sky association’s research, “artificial light at night can negatively affect human health, increasing risks for obesity, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes, breast cancer and more.”, “Exposure to blue light at night is particularly harmful. Unfortunately, most LEDs used for outdoor lighting — as well as computer screens, TVs, and other electronic displays — create abundant blue light.” What’s more, based on the report by Lynne Peeples, an Environment and Public Health Reporter, “Perhaps more surprising are findings from a recent study in Los Angeles, which suggest that pervasive nighttime illumination could exacerbate air pollution.” As I mentioned at the beginning, if light pollution brings us more air pollution, there is no doubt that would threaten public health seriously.

To address the problem of light pollution in urban area, scientist suggest to use less blue light for city lights, at least, installing black-out curtains in apartments. Obviously, asking the public spend own money on curtains is not a good idea and not supported by urban sustainability. In my opinion, we should turn off the lights at night as much as possible: which could not only help with our health, but also save the energy for the city and improve the urban sustainability.

 

works cited

https://us130urbansustainability.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/urbanization-in-developing-countries-current-trends-future-projections-and-key-challenges-for-sustainability_cohen.pdf

http://www.numbeo.com/pollution/city_result.jsp?country=United+States&city=Chicago%2C+IL

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/light-pollution-artificial-light_n_1734215.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_with_the_most_skyscrapers

http://darksky.org/ light-pollution/human-health

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5 thoughts on “Turn off the lights

  1. This is very interesting. I have read about light pollution before but had no idea about all these other negative health repercussions. Another effect of light pollution that you might find interesting is its toll on migratory birds. I have come across many dead birds around Chicago’s streets and upon some research, I discovered that over 3,000 birds die a year in Chicago by flying into the city’s many tall buildings. Migratory birds orient themselves with the moon and they are thrown off by the city’s many lights and inadvertently die because of it. Some years apparently record over 10,000 birds dying. This only highlights the importance of something that most people probably think insignificant; light pollution and its toll, not only on people, but the world around us.

    http://grist.org/cities/death-from-above-chicagos-bird-casualties-offer-clues-on-climate-change/

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  2. This is a really interesting to learn about, I know using a lot of energy in terms of light can be bad for the environment but never had I thought about light pollution in the matter that you spoke of it. Sometimes I tend to use the laptop at night or my phone as well especially at night time without the use of the room light. I think I could try to use my phone less at night, now knowing about the blue light it gives, not only that but it can also harm your vision. I’m not sure if you have heard of Earth Hour before, but its a campaign where people turn off all electricity for an hour. A few years back my mom would make our family do it. More campaigns like such can change human habits against light pollution.

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  3. I also wrote my blog about pollution but focused more on the air pollution. The chart and data that you provide is really interesting because it let’s us see a lot of factors that we tend to ignore. For example the dissatisfaction to spend time in the city. Although it’s low it is something to think about. The noise pollution as well as air pollution and untidiness of the city effects whether or not people enjoy being or living in the city. Noise and light pollution can slowly diminish with the corporation of people for example buying solar lights.

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  4. I knew we had a problem sigh noise and light pollution, but I never thought it was that high. I am also surprised to find the health risks involved using and being around LED lighting and devices since we are seeing a major change around us where everything is being moved from incandescent lighting to LED for its efficiency. Maybe we could place a light filter in the lence of the LEDs?

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  5. This is really interesting to read about. I have never really learned about light pollution and the harmful factors it brings. I am definitely intrigued to look up more about light pollution. I thought it was really interesting that artificial lights at night had so many health problems associated with it.

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