Tuesday August 20, 2019

Light Pollution at Night Disrupts Ecosystem, Says Study

In addition, invertebrates became less reliant on food sources that originate in the water when they were exposed to moderate light levels, results showed

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Pollution, U.S., Trump
Light Pollution at Night Disrupts Ecosystem, Says Study. VOA

Increased exposure to artificial or outdoor light, referred to as light pollution, at night not only raises health concerns for humans but can also significantly harm the entire ecosystem, says a new study.

The study showed that light at night affects species’ composition as well as their food chain length.

“Night-time light is having profound impacts that extend to the entire ecosystem,” said Mazeika Sullivan, Associate Professor from the Ohio State University in the US.

Artificial light is a pollutant, changing the natural course of life for people, animals and plants.

“We are experiencing this pollution that we do not think about, but it is all around us and it is chronic and it is happening everywhere. It is also unprecedented in earth’s history,” Sullivan added.

For the study, the team examined the effect of existing artificial light in streams and they manipulated the light in wetlands.

Smog, Air pollution
The study showed that light at night affects species’ composition as well as their food chain length. VOA

From those areas, they collected a variety of water-dwelling and land-dwelling invertebrate species, including mayflies, water bugs, ants and spiders.

Findings, published in the journal of Ecological Applications, demonstrated that species’ composition changed with an increase in light intensity.

They also discovered that the food chain length of the invertebrate communities shortened with more light, indicating that the ecosystem is less complex.

“Decreases in food chain length are a pretty big deal as it reflects not just changes in the architecture of an ecosystem — the numbers of various species — but also shifts in ecosystem stability and nutrient flows,” said Sullivan.

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In addition, invertebrates became less reliant on food sources that originate in the water when they were exposed to moderate light levels, results showed.

Interventions such as carefully directing light, using motion sensors to activate lights only when they are needed and dimming them when human activity is minimal could all have the potential to lessen the effects of lighting near wildlife, the study noted. (IANS)

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Home to 3 World Heritage Sites, Agra’s Pollution Level Continues to Remain Alarming

Not just human life, even the stone heritage is under threat

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Agra, Heritage Sites, Pollution
River activists here have demanded urgent steps to save the Yamuna, which is slowly dying due to pollution and lack of water. Pixabay

A quarter century of environmental activism, and a series of judicial interventions by the apex court, has not fundamentally changed the ecological conditions in the Taj Trapezium Zone, spread over 10,400 sq km. The air pollution level continues to remain alarming, affecting both humans and stones.

River activists here have demanded urgent steps to save the Yamuna, which is slowly dying due to pollution and lack of water.

Not just human life, even the stone heritage is under threat. Tourism has been badly hit and the health of the local population is in peril, the activists said.

Recommendations of expert committees are gathering dust and the Supreme Court orders have been blatantly ignored.

Agra, Heritage Sites, Pollution
A quarter century of environmental activism, and a series of judicial interventions by the apex court, has not fundamentally changed the ecological conditions in the Taj Trapezium Zone, spread over 10,400 sq km. Pixabay

Shifting orders for dairies, dhobi ghats, cremation sites, petha units, have been shelved. Transport companies emitting pollutants on the Yamuna Kinara Road, have not been shifted either.

The National Green Tribunal has been struggling with its orders on clearing encroachments on Yamuna flood-plains. After four years of dilly-dallying even the boundaries of the flood plains have not been clearly demarcated, the campaigners complain.

Vested interests had colluded to usurp precious land in the eco-sensitive Soor Sarovar area along the river, they alleged.

A public meeting, held on Sunday night at the Etmadudaullah viewpoint park here along the river, was attended by environmentalists, heritage conservationists and green activists, who collectively lamented the apathy of elected Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha members towards the Yamuna, the lifeline of the city.

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River Connect campaigners said the drying and highly polluted Yamuna was a constant threat to the safety of Mughal monuments like the Taj Mahal and Etmadudaullah, whose foundations need continuous moisture and a pollution free ambience.

In a resolution, the activists reminded Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkiri of his promise to start a ferry service for tourists between Delhi and Agra. In his recent election campaign speech at the Agra College ground, BJP President Amit Shah had promised that Yamuna cleaning would be taken up as a top priority after the elections.

Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken of steps to save the Yamuna.

Having announced the construction of a barrage downstream of the Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has suddenly developed cold feet, speakers at the conference alleged.

Agra, Heritage Sites, Pollution
The air pollution level continues to remain alarming, affecting both humans and stones. Pixabay

The river activists also demanded a comprehensive National Rivers Policy and a Central Rivers Authority.

Green activist Shravan Kumar Singh said that despite persistent demands, so far no initiative had been taken to desilt and dredge the river bed, which had become hard owing to pollutants, preventing seepage and percolation of water.

Environmentalist Chaturbhuj Tiwari said: “Though the Supreme Court had categorically directed ban on entry of cattle in the river and shifting of dhobis (washermen) polluting the river, no effort has been made by the district authorities in this direction.”

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The conference called for a white paper on the expenses incurred by various government agencies on cleaning the Yamuna between Delhi and Agra. A resolution passed urged all NGOs, voluntary groups and environmentalists to come on a common platform to launch a broader people’s movement to save India’s rivers and other water bodies. (IANS)