Eighty Percent of World Population Lives under Light-Polluted Skies

August 16, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. dense / dɛns / (adj.) – 
filled with or crowded
Example The area near the border has a dense population of migrant workers. 

2. commonplace / ˈkɒm ənˌpleɪs / (adj.) – ordinary
Example: Electronic devices are commonplace now.

3. intimidate / ɪnˈtɪm ɪˌdeɪt / (v.) – to cause fear
Example: Some animals are not intimidated by humans.

4. detrimental / ˌdɛ trəˈmɛn tl / (adj.) – causing harm
Example: Alcohol can have detrimental effects on people.

5. deterioration / dɪˌtɪər i əˈreɪ ʃən / (n.) – the state of becoming worse
Example: Scientists are worried about the deterioration of coral reefs.


Read the text below.
A study revealed that 80% of the world’s population lives under light-polluted skies, or night skies 10% brighter than normal.

The study also revealed that the brightest night skies can be found in Kuwait, Qatar, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates. All of these countries have dense populations. On the other hand, Central African Republic, Chad, and Madagascar experience night skies untainted by light pollution. Artificially illuminated skies also cover the United States and Europe, where the light pollution has risen by 6% each year in the past fifty years.

Although there are multiple sources of artificial light, much of the light pollution comes from street lights, particularly those that are not well-designed. Other commonplace sources include window lights at work and at home, car headlights, and illuminated ad spaces.

Light pollution can negatively affect animals and plants. Intense artificial light can alter the behavior of moths, urge birds to migrate at the wrong time, and intimidate night pollinators like bats. It can also upset underwater ecosystems and shift the growth of pollinating plants.

Light pollution also has a detrimental effect on humans. It has been linked to a decrease in melatonin production, which results in disrupted sleep cycles and an increased risk of some cancers.

Although the study admits that shielding, dimming, or turning off lights can decrease current light pollution and conserve energy, it also points out that the deterioration already inflicted cannot be reversed. Researchers are currently working on increasing public awareness on this problem.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What are some human activities done at night that require strong lights?
·         What are some places in your country that have strong lights at night?

Discussion B

·         What are some human inventions that negatively affect the environment?
·         Would you stop using a certain invention if it meant helping the environment? Why or why not?

August 16, 2016