It’s much ado about a greenhouse. A huge and well-lit greenhouse opened last year on the Polish side of the border with the Czech Republic. The light helps tomatoes grow, and makes Czech neighbors growl. The dispute has engaged diplomats and the governments. The European Parliament might be the next stage for the spat.
The critics say light pollution from the greenhouse risks the future of a rare dark-sky reserve declared in the area, harms the environment and denies people a proper sleep. On the other hand, it creates much-needed jobs.
Members of the Czech Astronomical Society were the first to complain after their measurements confirmed what anyone can see, especially on cloudy nights, that this new installation produces intense light.
“This greenhouse is something completely new for us,” astronomer Martin Gembec said on a recent night. He was on a hill about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from the greenhouse, which is on the edge of the Polish town of Bogatynia, next to a coal-fired power plant and a big open-pit brown coal mine.
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