International Light Pollution Guidelines

International Light Pollution Guidelines

News: The recently concluded COP-14 to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species and Wild Animals (CMS) held at Uzbekistan has prepared International Light Pollution Guidelines for migratory species.
• Draft resolution – By EU and Australia during CMS COP13 in 2020, where the issue of light pollution 1st emerged.
• Reference materials –‘National Light Pollution Guidelines’ prepared by Australia in 2020.
• Observation at COP-14, CMS – Between 1992 and 2017, artificial light emissions have increased over 49%.
• It noted that natural darkness has conservation value equal to clean water, air and soil.
• Guidelines – Reduce light pollution to minimise its effect on wildlife and undertake environmental impact assessments to understand the impacts on species.
• Avoid lighting in the 20-km radius around wildlife home & light spill, use non-reflective, dark-coloured surfaces and avoid specific colour wavelengths.
• Use best practices in lighting, managing light time, colour and intensity.

Impact of Light pollution in Wildlife Species
• Birds – Both marine and terrestrial dwelling birds can be affected by lights from as far as 15 km away.
• It disrupts foraging and make the birds starve.
• Fledgling seabirds may not be able to take their first flight if their nesting habitat never becomes dark.
• It can disorient flying migratory birds, diverting from efficient migratory routes or even collide with infrastructure.
• Migratory shorebirds may avoid roosting sites having more light and increase their vulnerability to predation due to visibility.
• Exposure to white light increases stress hormone corticosterone among free living songbirds, as against green or red light, and thus reduces offspring rate.
• Other lifeforms - Mammals, reptiles and fish are also be affected.
• Tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii) delays reproduction.
• Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) eggs incubated under constant light do not hatch.
• The hatchlings of marine turtles may be unable to find their way to the ocean if beaches are lit.
• Among bats, roosting, emerging, foraging, swarming, mating, commuting, drinking and migrating is impacted.  

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