July 27, 2017: Cities shifting to LED streetlights will definitely cut down costs of the administration, but it is endangering the native moths of New Zealand.
Auckland will see all its high-pressure sodium streetlights replaced with LED streetlights, and the project will complete by 2025. The first stage of installing of 44,000 LED streetlights, has been started off since the past 18 months. LED lights have the potential to save $32 million as the LED lights have 20-year life.
However, Geoff Reid, an environment lover, said that LED streetlights could affect negatively New Zealand’s about 2000 species of moth. This is because the tone of an LED light changes from golden yellow to white, which is bad for the species.
Moths are important in our ecosystem. These are key species as they provide food for birds and other insects, and also pollinate plants, Reid said.
As the moths are drawn to the blue LED streetlights, which measure more than 4000 kelvin, is bad for the moths—in fact anything over 2800 kelvin is bad for the species. On the other hand, sodium bulbs have approx. 2000 kelvin.
“LED streetlights will extract moths out of the ecosystem. It wears them out and they also congregate in one area around a light and mice are just cleaning them up,” he said.
About 90% of the moths are endemic to New Zealand with an estimated 400 species in Okura Bush on Auckland’s North Shore near where Reid lives.
Reid suggested that if LED lights are installed then these should have directional shielding and sensors. He has met the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board to draw their attention to this issue.