As reported in ScienceMag and American Veterinarian, new research has linked light pollution to longer infection periods of West Nile Virus in birds. This longer infection time means more mosquitoes can become infected as a result which then increases risk and cases of it occurring in humans.
Expansion of human population and new builds into outer areas, once natural spaces, along with the increased ability of white light (4000K, 5000K) in attracting insects, may be problematic where environment and citizen well-being are concerned.
I sent this info/research about West Nile Virus and light pollution to the Director of Waterloo Region Public Health who was very interested. She also forwarded this new research to Ontario Health deeming it important enough.
“Past” best practices in lighting design seem to lead to bad lighting I find in most cities and towns. However, national trends towards sustainability and energy conservation must temper the historical practice of over lighting and high energy consumption and waste.
Most people are familiar with air, water, and land pollution, but many do not recognize that light can also be a pollutant. So it’s extremely important that politicians, law makers and bodies such as the Canadian Medical Association start stepping up and addressing the spread of light pollution – a cancer of our night environment.
What can you do? Call or email (like I do regularly) your local councilor asking for change to address light pollution in your city. Contact your local public health and provincial health. You can also help by contacting provincial and federal ministers responsible for environment and health care. Forward news and latest research to them with your concerns and request for action. The more people that get involved, the more hope there is to prevent light pollution from harming our environment and our own health, more than it already is.
- American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sciencemag.org: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/01/light-pollution-may-promote-spread-west-nile-virus
- MSN.com (video): https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/video/light-pollution-may-promote-the-spread-of-west-nile-virus/vp-BBIaUtV