Light pollution in USA and Europe: The good, the bad and the ugly

Auhors: F. Falchia, R. Furgonia, T.A. Gallawayb, N.A. Rybnikovac, B.A. Portnovd, K. Baughe, P. Cinzanoa,
C.D. Elvidgef

Year: 2019

Publication: Journal of Environmental Management

Publication Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301479719309296?via%3Dihub

Keywords: Light pollution, Sustainable lighting, Artificial light at Night (ALAN), Energy waste, Artificial night sky brightness

Abstract: Light pollution is a worldwide problem that has a range of adverse effects on human health and natural ecosystems. Using data from the New World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness, VIIRS-recorded radiance and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data, we compared light pollution levels, and the light flux to the population size and GDP at the State and County levels in the USA and at Regional (NUTS2) and Province (NUTS3) levels in Europe. We found 6800-fold differences between the most and least polluted regions in Europe, 120-fold differences in their light flux per capita, and 267-fold differences in flux per GDP unit. Yet, we found even greater differences between US counties: 200,000-fold differences in sky pollution, 16,000-fold differences in light flux per capita, and 40,000-fold differences in light flux per GDP unit. These findings may inform policy-makers, helping to reduce energy waste and adverse environmental, cultural and health consequences associated with light pollution.

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