Poor quality and disrupted sleep, that light pollution causes, has been associated with higher rates of mental health problems and cancer in urban population.
Dangerous effects of urban light pollution cause New York City to join the brigade with several global cities which includes even Paris, also known as the City of Lights. The damaging effects of the urban light pollution are estimated to be too high by research studies. Preventive measures to limit internal and external light use will be taken by commercial buildings when vacant at night. Almost 40,000 buildings in New York City would be impacted with this move, which is significant as a major amount of energy would be saved.
A 1 a.m. curfew on over- illumination has also been mandated by the nationwide legislation of France in the city in 2013. This move taken by France reduced energy usage and emissions by “250,000 tons of CO2, which is considered enough to power 750,000, or 3% of French households, for a year.”
The harmful effects of over- lighting are estimated to be threefold;
- Higher energy usage accelerates the costs and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions.
- Most importantly it has a damaging effect on the mental and physical health which may have long term consequences.
- Night migrating birds lose their way as the light pollution causes them confusion. These birds rely on the stars and the moon for navigating and end up dying on their life sustaining journeys.
Excess lighting endangers the survival of the many birds and animals in this planet. 10,000 birds were killed in New York City in the last year alone. Light pollution also disrupts the sleeping, feeding, and breeding patterns of nocturnal animals. Even turtles that lay their eggs at night have been unable to do so as urban lighting messes with their senses which make them think that it is always day time. And if it is harmful for birds and animals, then it is harmful for humans too. Impacts of light pollution on human health are severe.
Neuroscientists claims in their research that night time lighting causes physiological changes in humans. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer claimed That poor disrupted sleep patterns caused by light pollution has been linked with higher rates of mental health problems and cancer in urban population. As 50% of the world’s population now live in cities this problem is worsening day by day.