Light pollution – a serious environmental problem? (VALO)

Project description

Light pollution is artificial light that causes adverse effects to the functioning of ecosystems or to human health or well-being. Light pollution - a serious environmental threat? (VALO) is a project aiming to bring together research results illuminating dark sides of the light. The project aims to increase awareness of the light pollution and - more generally - about the role of scientific results in environmental planning, management and decision-making.

NASA light pollution map North Europe
North Europe by night © NASA

The project aims to:

  • Build an interdisciplinary overall picture about the characteristics, development and potential management options of light pollution.
  • Combine key insights from different disciplines, including ecology, social sciences, and humanistic and engineering approaches.
  • Increase public understanding about contemporary environmental problems characterised by gradual but large-scale changes and the need to use the tools of scientific inquiry in order to understand the problem. Light pollution resulting from large-scale use of artificial light is a prime example of such environmental problem.

Implementation of the projectValon_varjopuolet125px.jpg

Light pollution affects in various ways the well-being and health of people, structures of the society and functioning of ecosystems. Various and sometimes contradictory expectations and values are connected with outdoor illumination. The project conducted an online survey that aimed to chart the views of Finns about the light pollution. A summary of the results has been published (Reports of the Finnish Environment Institute 24/2012, in Finnish) as well as a separate research article.

The main product of the project was an extensive book on light pollution, entitled "The dark sides of light - light pollution as an environmental problem" (in Finnish) published in 15. October 2013. Additionally, a poster exhibition on light pollution was prepared.

Key participants

The project was implemented by senior researcher Jari Lyytimäki and researcher Janne Rinne from the Finnish Environment Institute, Environmental Policy Centre. The communications unit of the Finnish Environment Institute gave important help. The project collaborated with the FIDEA research group and various NGOs. The book was published by Gaudeamus Helsinki University Press. The project was funded by Tieteen Tiedotus ry.

Additional information

Jari Lyytimäki, p. +358 400 148 856

Janne Rinne, p. +358 400 148 809


Published 2013-10-03 at 0:00, updated 2013-10-10 at 18:31