Kar­i­jini in dark park bid

Pilbara News - - PILBARA NEWS - Chris Marr Ex­plore more science news from the Pil­bara at www.sci­encewa.net.au.

Kar­i­jini National Park is set to be­come WA’s first Dark Sky Park if Perth-based Dr Kel­lie Pen­do­ley from Pen­do­ley En­vi­ron­men­tal, a lead­ing mem­ber of the In­ter­na­tional Dark Sky As­so­ci­a­tion, gets her way.

The IDA works to pro­tect the night skies for present and future gen­er­a­tions by pro­mot­ing en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­ble out­door light­ing and ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple about night sky con­ser­va­tion.

One of the IDA’s ini­tia­tives is to cre­ate Dark Sky Parks, com­mu­ni­ties and re­serves around the globe by keep­ing ar­eas free from ar­ti­fi­cial light. The pure darkness of a place like Kar­i­jini is good for your soul, but it seems it is also good for your health, Dr Pen­do­ley says.

“Ex­po­sure to too much ar­ti­fi­cial light is be­ing as­so­ci­ated with a num­ber of health prob­lems in­clud­ing cancer, heart dis­ease, di­a­betes, obe­sity, de­pres­sion and sleep­less­ness,” she said.

LED lights like those that power the screen of your mo­bile phone or tablet, pro­duce light at the blue end of the spec­trum which fools the body into think­ing it’s still day­light, so it sup­presses the pro­duc­tion of mela­tonin, the hor­mone that puts you to sleep.

In­stead the body keeps pro­duc­ing cor­ti­sol, the hor­mone that keeps you go­ing dur­ing the day, and this in­creases blood pres­sure, which leads to health prob­lems.

Re­cently smart­phones and other de­vices have been given the op­tion to tone down the blue light, giv­ing a warmer, red­der light, but blue lights are also be­com­ing wide­spread in city streets as author­i­ties change over to them to save money.

Fabio Falchi, from the Light Pol­lu­tion Science and Tech­nol­ogy In­sti­tute in Thiene, Italy, re­cently re­leased the re­sults of a study us­ing data from Suomi NPP, a high-res­o­lu­tion satel­lite which scanned the Earth for light em­a­nat­ing from ci­ties.

Mr Falchi says 83 per cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion ex­pe­ri­enced some form of light pol­lu­tion, and in Europe and North Amer­ica, the num­ber af­fected could be as high as 99 per cent, with ci­ties like Sin­ga­pore and Hong Kong hav­ing no es­cape for any­body.

“Glob­ally, ar­ti­fi­cial light­ing is in­creas­ing by 6 per cent an­nu­ally and it now ac­counts for 20 per cent of global elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion,” Dr Pen­do­ley said.

“In the US, 30 per cent of out­door light­ing is wasted — that is it shines use­lessly into the sky — and this light costs $US3.3 bil­lion and re­leases 21 mil­lion tonnes of CO2 each year.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.