What Is Light Pollution?


Kristina Sanchez , Contributor

One might think that using electricity and turning a lamp on and off will cause no problems. However, pollution can vary from polluted waters to toxic air.  We tend to not pay attention to something as common as light and the light pollution we have put on the planet. You may be thinking, what is light pollution? Light pollution is the excessive use of artificial light that affects animal life and the consumption of energy. The IDA (International Dark-Sky Association) stresses that 30 percent of outdoor lighting in the United States is wasted and not needed. The use of consumption, adds up to $3.3 billion dollars, and we don’t realize that we’re causing it. Due to the amount of energy we consume, 21 million tons of carbon dioxide is released per year. Therefore, as a balance, we must annually plant around 875 million trees to cancel out carbon dioxide.   

A bright environment has the power to impact organisms living within them. As we wait at the airport at night, we don’t think about the lights we use for the guidance of planes. Light pollution comes from our industrial civilization. Whether we like it or not, for years our electricity consumptions has grown. Have you ever seen the stars at night while living in New York? If you answered no, then that is the consequence of our usage of bright light and its pollution. Research shows New York was once able to see the milky way in the late 1800’s, but it was soon faded from the horizon, as time and the economy changed over the course of decades.

The environment we adapted to today, and the technology we produce, may benefit us- but it disturbs our wildlife. We disturb the wildlife with something as simple as the street lamp post, typically used for the night, by confusing animals. The daylight given from the sun is our natural, on and off switch. To help contribute to the reduction of light pollution, we may start with the use of motion sensors and timer lights, which will positively affect the reduction of energy consumption. If you are interested in learning more on how to stop light pollution visit the website below: