O Brasil desperdiça 30% dos gastos com energia elétrica para iluminar o céu

Um estudo desenvolvido pelo Laboratório Nacional de Astrofísica (LNA) localizado em Itajubá, revela como a poluição luminosa compromete as pesquisas científicas que ampliam o conhecimento sobre o universo, promovem o desenvolvimento tecnológico e melhoram a qualidade de vida da população. Além disso, a falta de planejamento para a instalação de luzes artificiais representa um desperdício de 30% nos gastos com energia elétrica e afeta a saúde das pessoas.

“A poluição luminosa causa vários impactos na sociedade, no meio ambiente, nas pesquisas em astronomia e nos seres humanos, aumentando o risco, inclusive, de câncer, devido à supressão da luz noturna sobre a glândula pineal, o que reduz a produção do hormônio melatonina”, afirma o coordenador do Observatório do Pico dos Dias do LNA, Saulo Gargaglioni, acrescentando que a melatonina é sintetizada exclusivamente no escuro. “A produção e secreção desse hormônio é inversamente proporcional às exposições ambientais de luz e sua redução tem sido altamente correlacionada com o aumento do risco de câncer de mama. Recentemente, um artigo publicado na revista Nature alerta que o excesso de luz enfraquece os músculos e ossos de roedores.”

De acordo com o pesquisador, a poluição luminosa acontece com toda luz noturna externa mal planejada ou direcionada para cima, que não é aproveitada de forma eficiente. “Este tipo de poluição causa um aumento na luminosidade do céu noturno e também o brilho alaranjado visto acima das cidades, que atrapalha a visão das estrelas nos grandes centros, resultado do mau planejamento dos sistemas de iluminação”, diz.

Impactos ambientais

Esse efeito é ainda mais evidente em áreas com alta concentração de poluição atmosférica. O uso de lâmpadas de vapor de sódio mal direcionadas é o que causa o efeito de cor alaranjada. Se o brilho tender para o branco, é devido ao uso de lâmpadas de mercúrio, ainda mais nocivas ao meio ambiente.

“A poluição luminosa pode ocasionar mudanças na orientação e atração dos organismos em locais com iluminação noturna alterada, podendo afetar a reprodução, migração e comunicação das espécies. Algumas aves e répteis que são usualmente diurnos caçam à noite, na presença de luz artificial. Esse comportamento pode ser benéfico para essas espécies, mas não para suas presas, ocasionando, dessa forma, um desequilíbrio ambiental. Pássaros atraídos pela luz dos prédios, torres de transmissão, monumentos e outras construções voam sem cessar em torno da luz até caírem de cansaço ou pelo impacto em alguma superfície”, explica Gargaglioni.

A iluminação artificial nas praias também pode ocasionar a desorientação de filhotes de tartarugas marinhas que saem dos ninhos nas praias. Normalmente, os filhotes movem-se em sentido contrário aos ambientes escuros e baixos e seguem em direção ao oceano. Com a presença de luzes artificiais na praia, os filhotes não conseguem diferenciar os ambientes, resultando em desorientação.

Há influência também sobre as plantas. “Elas não florescem se a duração da noite é mais curta do que o período normal, enquanto outras florescerão prematuramente como resultado da exposição ao fotoperíodo necessário para o florescimento.

Prejuízos para pesquisa

Situado a 1.864 metros de altitude, entre as cidades mineiras de Brazópolis e Piranguçu, o Observatório do Pico dos Dias tem sua vida útil como laboratório científico comprometida pelo aumento descontrolado da poluição luminosa nos seus arredores. Considerando o número de habitantes e a distância em linha reta ao centro de pesquisas, as cinco cidades que mais o afetam são Brazópolis, Itajubá, Piranguçu, Campos do Jordão e Piranguinho.

O Pico dos Dias é, atualmente, o principal espaço de observações astronômicas em solo brasileiro. Quatro telescópios estão em operação no local, inclusive o maior no Brasil, com um espelho de 1,6 metro de diâmetro.

Em operação desde 1980, o Observatório contribuiu decisivamente para o crescimento da astronomia brasileira, abrindo caminho para a participação do país em projetos internacionais de grande porte, como os telescópios Gemini e Soar. Tem ainda papel fundamental na formação de novos profissionais para a astronomia.

Como evitar

O pesquisador Saulo Gargaglioni lembra que medidas simples podem diminuir a poluição luminosa nas cidades. A escolha de luminárias e lâmpadas adequadas para iluminação externa e o seu correto posicionamento em relação ao solo são suficientes para conter e até reverter os efeitos da luz excessiva, além de diminuir os gastos da administração pública com os sistemas de iluminação e liberar o céu para observação. As lâmpadas LED, cada vez mais utilizadas nos espaços urbanos, têm contribuído para o aperfeiçoamento dos sistemas de iluminação pública. “Normalmente, as luminárias com LED são instaladas no ângulo correto, ou seja, mais próximo de 90° do poste ou ponto de fixação”, explica.

Mas, para Gargaglioni, a poluição luminosa é um assunto que precisa incluir toda a população. “Infelizmente, esse tema é pouco conhecido pelo público e também pelos formadores de opinião, que poderiam ter um papel importante na disseminação da informação”, aponta.

Legislação

A legislação brasileira ainda é pouco abrangente nesse campo, somando apenas três leis. A primeira, criada pelo Instituto Brasileiro de Meio Ambiente e Recursos Naturais (Ibama), visa à proteção das tartarugas marinhas, espécie muito tempo ameaçada de extinção no Brasil e no mundo. A portaria nº 11, de 30 de janeiro de 1995, protege os animais em determinadas áreas de desova e alimentação, preservando ovos, filhotes ou animais adultos.

“Em Campinas [SP], e em Caeté [MG], há leis municipais criadas para proteger o entorno dos observatórios instalados nessas regiões. Em diversos países, foram adotadas medidas para minimizar os problemas da poluição luminosa. Os Estados Unidos foram o primeiro país a criar uma legislação para combater os efeitos nocivos. Itália, Espanha e Chile também têm suas legislações. Já a República Tcheca foi o primeiro país a aprovar uma legislação federal para resolver o problema, em 2002”, enumera o pesquisador.

Em sua dissertação de mestrado intitulada “Análise legal dos impactos provocados pela poluição luminosa do ambiente” (Unifei, 2007), Gargaglioni apresenta um anteprojeto de lei que tem a finalidade de combater a poluição luminosa com a regulamentação de instalações de iluminação externas e internas, públicas e privadas.

Acesse o estudo desenvolvido pelo LNA.

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