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The Major Crisis: Street Lights

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This is an urgent problem. While the bright glow of light in the sky attracts people and animals which seems harmless, it also distracts them and causes numerous problems. Do you think it’s acceptable to risk the health of innocent lives and condition of the earth: for street lights? We must rescue the environment from pollution. Would you like to pass street lights regularly and be unaware of the dangers its repeatedly causing you?

Overall a significant “99% of the US and European population were affected by light pollution and could not see the stars at night”. Street lights have become threatening and are endangering all life on earth. They have become a modern inconvenience. Multiple Health problems have been reported due to the glowing light. Critics confirmed that an alarming 29% of people in an area with more lights have a poor quality and quantity of sleep. Compared with a mere 16% in areas with less intense light. This is absurd that almost one in three are affected. Likewise, another issue is the glare which tends to distract us from other dimmer things that we might be trying to see. It’s a problem to night time drivers faced with bright lights. White LED light has been associated to disturbance in sleep patterns, and the dazzling light is found to affect eyesight. Consequently, it causes other problems that are physically endangering people.

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In addition, a Harvard study found a staggering increased risk of breast cancer in women living in neighbourhoods with higher outdoor lighting. This was connected to an increase in brightness at night time, which causes reduced levels of hormones. Furthermore, glare light scattering in the eye causes loss of contrast, sometimes blinds you temporarily, corrupting vision and leads to unsafe driving conditions. These issues afflict people’s health. This validates the point that streetlights are having a horrendous effect on people’s lives although they were made to save lives. Some temporary effects that street lights can cause are blindness and sleep insomnia. This defeats the principle which makes them useless -they do more damage than good.

Major light pollution and skyglow has contributed greatly to global warming. Light pollution is known as the immoderate and extended use of artificial lights which results in more illumination of the night skies. Firstly, an advanced telescope for street lights found a dreadful 2.2% increase in the earth’s number of street lights each year from 2012 to 2016. Secondly, another landmark study result indicated that a shocking 83% of the world’s population was affected by light pollution and could not see the stars at night, this is atrocious. In Scotland a notable 200,000 tonnes of CO2 are released into the atmosphere each year. As well IDA estimates that “30% of outdoor lighting in the U.S. is wasted, because lights aren’t shielded”. That adds up to an extravagant $3.3 billion spent on street lights and the discharge of 21 million tons of CO2 per year. To offset all that, we’d have to place 875 million trees annually, the effects of carbon dioxide ruin our wildlife. Therefore, this shows how street lights aren’t eco-friendly. Again, the effects of global warming are destructing the planet: flooding-destroying homes, longer wildfires- destroying nature, and more powerful hurricanes- destroying homes and lives. Growing the world’s pollution dilemma making it a current issue and crucial threat.

The effects on nocturnal creatures are devastating as they become dreadfully disturbed causing their lives to be endangered. Most are oblivious to this, a study published found that high-intensity light in urban areas can alter their behaviour in terms of migration, foraging, and vocal communication. Bright lights confuse birds. They are suffering slowly: disorientated, exhausted, starved to the point of death. As a result, they circle the light until they drop from exhaustion. People are insensitive and have no concern for them. Secondly, tens of thousands of sea turtle hatchlings are disoriented each year. Therefore, if sea turtles were to become extinct it would influence other marine life as they maintain the health of the oceans; it’s preposterous. Why should animals pay for our mistakes? From this we can clearly see that streetlights cause harm and death to creatures. A colossal load of money and energy is wasted on needless lights. It costs around $4000 to install one street pole which is ridiculous and a misuse of money as it lasts for 10-15 years. The average wattage of a streetlight is about 80-100 watts, in contrast to a phone charger which uses about 2 watts which is appalling as we are using unnecessary amounts of energy. Significantly the UK’s superfluous 7million street lights has an energy bill which costs a whopping amount of over £300m a year. In addition, on an average year in the U.S. alone, “outdoor lighting uses about 120 terawatt-hours of energy” and this is escalating, “mostly to illuminate empty streets and parking lots”. This is obstructive as the energy used on street lights is enough to meet “New York City’s total electricity needs for a couple of years”. It’s astonishing about how much unnecessary money and energy has been wasted- that could’ve been used for more essential needs. Deserted streets, deserted car parks. A waste of time.

A significant amount of car accidents at night has been prevented where street lights are present. Firstly, there has now been a remarkable 19.6% reduction in accidents along town and city roads where street lights were on, this increased up by a striking 8.8% where lighting was not present, this is an immense difference. This suggests it protects drivers. Street lighting is sufficient and may improve a driver’s visual capabilities, and ability to detect roadway hazards. Street lights have reduced fatal injury crashes by an impressive 77%. However, Street lights have lately become preferable with technology advancing such as self-driving cars which have been developed. In one case one of the cars crashed into a cyclist at night where there was no street lighting present. Street lights at night-time have saved lives; without it lives could possibly be lost. On the other hand, can one point outweigh the numerous reasons on why they’re an inconvenience? That’s the only positive. With all things in consideration: street lights have countless negative impacts to go along with it. What makes street lights so vital that our ecosystem should be damaged for? This justifies the reasons in which street lights have become a modern inconvenience.


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