El lado oscuro de la luz

Por: Alejandra Camacho || aleli.camacho94@gmail.com
Fotografía de: Alfonso Rueda

Una de las mejores vistas que tienen los edificios altos o las terrazas en Bogotá es la de la ciudad de noche. ¡Qué espectáculo! Las pequeñas lucecitas de colores que perfilan de a pocos una urbe de altos edificios y largas filas automovilísticas; de calles iluminadas y árboles oscurecidos; de inmensos valles urbanos que parecen inacabables. Sin embargo, estoy segura de que la mayoría de nosotros ha querido, más allá del paisaje bogotano, ver el manto que cubre nuestras noches y, es probable que, en la mayoría de los casos, solo hayan logrado ver la luna, ni una estrella; pues el cielo se ve exageradamente iluminado, no precisamente por este satélite natural, sino por todas las luces artificiales que se riegan en el suelo citadino. Este fenómeno es relativamente reciente y es conocido con el nombre de contaminación lumínica.

De acuerdo con el Observatorio Ambiental de Bogotá la contaminación lumínica es el brillo o resplandor de luz en el cielo nocturno producido por la reflexión y difusión de luz artificial en las partículas del aire por el uso de luminarias inadecuadas o excesos de iluminación. En otras palabras, el mal uso que se le da a la iluminación de exteriores lanza luz de forma directa hacia el cielo en vez de enviarla al suelo. La verdadera oscuridad es abrir los ojos y no ver nada más que negro, ni siluetas ni sombras: ceguera total. ¿Recuerda sentir alguna vez esto en Bogotá cuando se levanta a las 3 de la mañana a ir al baño? Es probable que no, porque la percepción de oscuridad en ámbitos urbanos es
distinta debido a la cantidad de luz artificial que nos rodea. Esto puede generar afectaciones en el ecosistema y en la salud, como procesos irritativos visuales en personas susceptibles o alteraciones en los ciclos de sueño ante exposiciones prolongadas. 

No solo la oscuridad oculta, la luz también ¿Cuántas cosas dejamos de ver por pasar las noches ‘encandelillados’?, ¿cuántas estrellas?, ¿cuántas aves e insectos?, ¿cuántas sombras se esconden entre las luces de las zonas rosas de la ciudad?, ¿cuántos seres y personajes están detrás de aquellas luces de neón? Incluso ¿cuántas horas de descanso perdemos por el exceso de luz? La oscuridad es necesaria porque nos permite ver lo que de día no podríamos ver, pero, en una ciudad en la que la inseguridad y la vida nocturna de una metrópoli exigen que la media noche parezca medio día, es imposible observar o determinar los pequeños espectáculos que la naturaleza oscura trae consigo.

Sí, la luz asimismo tiene su lado oscuro. Aunque parezca increíble, la contaminación lumínica puede producir efectos nocivos para el ser humano: “Existen impactos en el lugar donde se encuentran los focos o fuentes contaminantes. Estos, gracias al deslumbramiento y al exceso de iluminación, producen: Inseguridad vial, derroche energético, estrés, vandalismo, ‘disconfort’ visual, entre otros.” afirma Carlos Parrada, experto en contaminación y recursos naturales. Por su parte, Rafael Suárez, experto en salud ocupacional, asegura lo siguiente “La luz artificial altera la manera en la que el cuerpo se desgasta y se repara. Por lo que, sí se abusa del uso de esta luz, el sistema de estrés se prolonga y se produce un desgaste físico y mental”.

La verdadera oscuridad es abrir los ojos y no ver nada más que negro, ni siluetas ni sombras: ceguera total.

No solo para los humanos es dañino, este tipo de contaminación afecta particularmente a las aves nocturnas, pues

(…) a pesar de que están acostumbradas a volar en la oscuridad y a la luz natural
de la Luna –que no produce contaminación lumínica–, muchas veces se sienten atraídas por la luz artificial y enloquecen o pueden llegar a morir. Muchas veces las crías, en su primer vuelo, se ven deslumbradas por estas instalaciones de alumbrado y terminan cayendo en zonas urbanas y en el peor de los casos mueren al estrellarse contra paredes o edificios.

Los insectos también pueden sufrir este tipo de fenómeno. Además, el metabolismo de muchos animales nocturnos corre el riesgo de desequilibrarse hasta el punto de provocar la muerte.

Comments

19 thoughts on “El lado oscuro de la luz

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