Unlike other forms of pollution, light pollution has not been regarded as an important issue until lately. Specifically, light pollution has been realized due to some of its effects. Glares, light trespass, and clutter at night suggest some of the intricate aspects that have made the consequences of light pollution to be investigated.
According to environmentalists and researchers, light pollution causes visibility disruptions and nuisance especially from glares and the spillover effects which may lead to human health problems. Light pollution also changes the natural illumination at night by brightening the skies and leads to the disruption of the ecosystem.
Here are the specific and major effects of light pollution.
- Wildlife Implications
Many wildlife animals such as mammals, birds, reptiles and insects are naturally photoperiodic. Many characteristics of these animals’ behavior and physiology depend on the circadian rhythms, that is, the day and night influences.
On this regard, growth, development, reproduction, eating and locomotion all depend on the balance between day and night. Hence, any amounts of artificial lights introduced in their respective environments can seriously alter their natural cycles and operations.
For instance, hundreds of wildlife such as deer and zebras are killed on the roads in the evenings since the glares blind and distort their night locomotive aspects. Sea turtles have also been found to be highly reliant on natural lighting for reproduction, movement, eating, and development which can be heavily impacted by artificial lighting.
- Ecosystem Disruptions in General
In general, artificial lighting heavily impacts and threatens the balance of the ecosystem because numerous wildlife including plants and animals highly depend on the nocturnal and diurnal influences. Light pollution negatively impacts on animal and plant physiology thereby modifying the competitive interactions of the animals, tampers with their migratory patterns, and distorts predator-prey relations.
Light reflections can equally prevent natural UV rays from reaching the planet which is responsible for the continuity of plant life. Simply put, light pollution modifies the daily rhythm and cycles of life which are directed by darkness and light, thus upsetting the ecological activities.
- Effects on Humans
Spillovers and glare are some of the lighting outcomes that cause eye strain, loss of clear vision, aging of the eyes, and stress which most people complain about. The human eye is equipped to naturally adjust to the day and night patterns so as to see in the right manner.
Too much light can damage human eyes and even harm the hormone melatonin which is responsible for regulating diurnal and nocturnal visions. This can result in sleep disorders and other health implications such as stress, exhaustion, headaches, increased anxiety, and some forms of obesity may develop. The general quality of life is also affected by light pollution, and it can interfere with crucial navigation systems for planes which may lead to accidents.
Many people don’t realize that it costs lots of money to the power grid system to support the lighting of public places, homes, and commercial places. Apart from the fact the individual businesses, homes, and public utilities pay for the lighting, the nation uses millions of money to generate electric power and loads of oil and non-renewable energy sources like coal are exploited to produce the ever needed power.
Per se, lighting that uses very powerful lights to light up the respective areas leads to a lot of energy wastage and serious environmental costs (carbon footprint). In the main cities, it is estimated that about 60% of the nation’s total energy is used for public and commercial lighting while about 6% is used for outdoor lighting in residential areas.
- Loss of Cultural and Historical Values
Not only you, but perhaps many people love the beauty of the skies and seeing the view of the various shapes of the moon and the stars at night. As lighting continue to create artificially illuminated environment and brightening of the skies at night, it has become increasingly difficult for sky enthusiasts to view the sky at night, particularly in urban areas.
Astronomers have had lately had problems viewing and reading the activities in the outer space and sky because of the continued brightening of the skies. As a result, the world is slowly losing the beautiful dark sky view with the moon and the skies as well as other outer space objects. Especially, many young people growing up in the city might never experience this beautiful view if people continue to evolve into the night through lighting.