Light Pollution: A Growing Problem for Wildlife and Environment
Light pollution, also known as photo pollution or luminous pollution, is excessive or obtrusive artificial light.
Artificial light at night can disrupt everything from astronomers' views of the stars to the path-finding abilities of migrating animals.
The most well known light pollution effects are on migratory birds.sometimes leading them to fly into the sides of buildings. But migratory animals are not the only victims. Night-foraging creatures, such as bats and mice, rely on the darkness to either hunt or provide protection from predators.
The more researchers uncover about the startling effects of light pollution, the more obvious it is that something needs to change in the way humans use and direct light. Some cities, like Chicago, have implemented “lights out” programs where tall building lights are dimmed during bird migratory seasons. The effort is thought to save more than 10,000 birds each year.
Estimates by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the number of birds killed after being attracted to tall towers range from 4-5 million per year to an order of magnitude higher. The Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) works with building owners in Toronto, Canada and other cities to reduce mortality of birds by turning out lights during migration periods.
The U.S. National Park Service, whose Night Sky Team determined that almost every park that it surveyed has noticeable light pollution.