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Polusi Cahaya Pengaruhi 1/3 Rimba-Raya (Wildlife) Dunia

Hampir 1/3 zona-zona utama rimba raya atau satwa liar Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) di seluruh dunia kini dipengaruhi oleh polusi cahaya (skyglow)—cahaya tersebar dan terpantul ke dalam atmosfer hingga jarak sangat jauh. Begitu hasil riset Dr. Jo K. Garrett, P. F. Donald, dan K. J. Gaston dari University of Exeter di Inggris,  yang dirilis oleh jurnal Animal Conservation, edisi awal 2019 (J. K. Garrett, P. F. Donald, K. J. Gaston, “Skyglow extends into the world's Key Biodiversity Areas”,  Animal Conservation, 2019).

Cahaya malam hari sangat mempengaruhi kehidupan spesies-spesies dan seluruh ekosistem global. “These results are troubling because we know many species can respond even to small changes in night-time light. Night-time lighting is known to affect microbes, plants and many groups of animals such crustaceans, insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals,” ungkap Dr. Jo Garrett, ketua tim peneliti dari University of Exeter.

KBA merupakan zona KBA Partnership yang sangat penting bagi pelestarian keragaman-hayati di dunia. Langit-langit ‘Prestine’ adalah zona yang terkena cahaya artifisial tidak lebih dari 1% di atas level (cahaya) alamiah. Pada level di atas 8% dari cahaya alamiah, polusi cahaya (light-pollution) menyebar dari horizon hingga zenith; maka seluruh angkasa terpolusi.

Lebih rinci, Dr. Jo Garrett menguraikan dampak polusi cahaya : “It has an enormous range of effects, including causing trees to produce leaves earlier in the season and birds to sing earlier in the day, changing the proportion of predators in animal communities, and changing the cycling of carbon in ecosystems. Some effects can occur at very low light levels.” (University of Exeter, 10/2/2019).

Hasil riset itu menemukan : (1) sekitar 29,5% KBA dunia sudah mencapai level angkasa ‘pristine’ malam hari; 51,5% belum termasuk ‘pristine-night-skies’; (3) 21% merupakan langit terpolusi hingga zenith; dan (4) 46%KBA di Timur Tengah berada di bawah level langit terpolusi hingga Zenith. Zona paling tinggi terpolusi cahaya adalah Eropa (34%) dan Karibia (32%) (Science Daily, 11/2/2019)

“Unsurprisingly, the likelihood of skyglow tends to increase in areas with higher GDP, and in areas with higher human population density.This suggests that the proportion of KBAs experiencing skyglow will increase in parallel with the development of economies. Skyglow could be reduced by limiting outdoor lighting to levels and places where it is needed, which would also result in considerable cost savings and lower energy use,” ungkap, senior author Profesor Kevin Gaston (University of Exeter, 10/2/2019).

Oleh: Servas Pandur