In March, Ukraine is supposed to move to summertime, but for the last two years the talks on necessity of daylight saving have become more tense. Thus, on September 20, 2011 Ukraine's parliament canceled the switch to wintertime, but already on October 18 withdrew its decision. At the beginning of 2012, the Economy Minister submitted a draft bill proposing the idea to switch to summertime and remain there, in the third time zone.

Due to such uncertainty with time conversion Russia and Belarus have suspended the sale of tickets for international passenger trains to Ukraine.

Modern daylight saving was first proposed by the New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson, whose shift-work job gave him leisure time to collect insects, and led him to value after-hours daylight. Starting on 30 April 1916, Germany and its World War I allies were the first to use DST (German: Sommerzeit) as a way to conserve coal during wartime. Britain, most of its allies, and many European neutrals soon followed suit. Russia and a few other countries waited until the next year and the United States adopted it in 1918. Since then, the world has seen many enactments, adjustments, and repeals. However, almost 80 world countries, including all Europe (except for Iceland) and some Middle East countries, now use time shift.

Daylight saving has caused controversy since it began. Proponents of DST generally argue that it saves energy, promotes outdoor leisure activity in the evening, and is therefore good for physical and psychological health, reduces traffic accidents, reduces crime, or is good for business. Groups that tend to support DST are urban workers or professionals, retail businesses, outdoor sports enthusiasts and businesses, tourism operators, and others who benefit from increased light during the evening. Opponents argue that actual energy savings are inconclusive, that DST can disrupt morning activities, and that the act of changing clocks twice a year is economically and socially disruptive and cancels out any benefit. Groups that have tended to oppose DST are farmers, transportation companies, and the indoor entertainment business.

Once again, ForUm has decided to ask doctors, experts and politicians whether our country still needs time shift or it is a simple archaism we should get rid of.

Yuri Kundiyev, director of occupational medicine Institute:

- Healthwise, artificial time is not good. Animals, plants and people have always lived with the sun, and time shift brings the shakes. Though it does not last long - a day o two, it is still negative for living organism. Some people may suffer sleep disorders, increased fatigability, irritability, attention deficit, moodiness, heartaches, etc.

However, a resolution signed by one man, as it happened in Russia, is not enough to solve such important issue of society life. Scientific rationales are still necessary.

Anna Horban, pediatrician:

- I can tell about my health, which resembles health of many other people. I suffer during time conversion. People have biological clock and rhythms, changes into which may cause chaos. However, the society keeps in with its laws and is ready to sacrifice some things. But, I am sure that if we look at statistics we will see that the sickness rate increases during the time shift period. And I am speaking not about flu, but heart diseases.

Volodymyr Pavlenko, deputy economy minister:

- We believe that time shift can be canceled. The Economy Minister has worked out a draft bill proposing to keep permanent second time zone. The bill is aimed at improvement of people's health and working efficiency.

If the draft bill is adopted Ukraine will have permanent "wintertime".

Vladyslav Lukianov, MP of the Party of Regions:

- I think this issue is raised by people who have nothing else to do. I know, if we switch to the time zone of Luhansk region and east of Ukraine, western regions will be three hours ahead of real time. If we adopt the time zone of Zakarpattya, the morning in Lukansk region will start at three a.m. I believe Ukraine should stick to the adopted calendar of time shift. Any other decision will bring a conflict.

Yuri Gaydayev, MP of the VI convocation, former healthcare minister:

- There is such notion as biological clock. If time changes once in half a year, people get used to it, but this change is nevertheless stressful.
I know that the Academy of medical sciences have held researches and concluded that the time shift does not affect the organism. On the other hand, we know that animals do suffer during time shift period. I don't think this issue is very urgent for Ukraine now. However, time shift in general is inexpedient and stressful, especially for children.

Oleksandr Zholud, economist of the International center for advanced research:

- In XX century, the introduction of time shift was economically motivated, but the things have changed since then. The major part of electricity is used by computer equipment and household appliances, but their functioning does not depend on the time of day. In industry, for example, power units function 24 hours, so time shift or daylight saving does not matter. However, time shift brings tension to some spheres of activity, like transportation, train and air travel. I believe we should abandon time shift and keep one time zone the year around.

Oleksandr Anishchenko, former healthcare minister of Ukraine:

- Ukraine does not need daylight saving time. Time shift affects people's health, may cause negative immune reactions or aggravation of chronic diseases. I stand for the same time the year around.

Ruslan Pavlenko, economist:

- Traditional time shift does not affect health of the majority of people. Only weather-sensitive people or people with chronic diseases may feel some discomfort.

At the same time, daylight saving time does help to save energy. Thus, in European countries the saving makes no less that 2% of the total annual energy consumption. No surprise that 78 countries still practice time shift. Some countries follow time shift due to regional traditions.


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