Light Pollution: Everyone's Problem

Light pollution should be an environmental concern for every citizen. The harmful effects of light pollution include energy waste, roadway glare, light trespass (light spilled beyond its intended target), unnatural effects on flora and fauna, and skyglow.

The findings and recommendations of the New Jersey Light Pollution Study Commission have been presented to the Governor but thus far there has been NO action. This is surprising given the public statements made by the Governor in support of the environment. The following is a quote from Governor Whitmanís State of the State address on January 14, 1997...

"Like our roads and infrastructure, our priceless environment is something that must endure for future generations. As we have proved many times, my administration is committed to preserving and protecting our precious environment."

"We will thoroughly examine state practices - from the regulations and policies we write to the paper and light bulbs we use - to make sure we are environmentally friendly in everything we do."

Consider also this report published in the Sunday Star Ledger (May 25, 1997, reported by Ana M. Alaya) which talks about the Governorís address to the 4,000 people attending Drew Universityís 129th commencement ceremonies in Madison, NJ on May 24...

"The Governor urged graduates to avoid routines that block out nature. She warned of the pitfalls of an artificial world where people can hear the sound of chirping birds on tape, watch sports players run on plastic grass and buy children virtual computer pets."

Astronomers share nature with birders and other nature enthusiasts, and no less a pitfall is the destructive effect of skyglow on the once starry night sky. And what of the more pragmatic issues of roadway safety and personal and property security? All are compromised by the poor use of nighttime lighting. Of all our environmental problems, light pollution is one that is more easily remedied by the use of outdoor lighting fixtures that are either shielded or of full cut off design. All components of light pollution are then minimized - and all at little or no cost to the taxpayer!

--- Gordon Bond
Maintained by BDM
njastro@erols.com
Page last updated 5/1/99