LED lighting is becoming more and more common in street lighting applications as they consume less energy and, are free from hazardous chemicals like mercury and lead which release toxins. LEDs also have a higher rate of durability and has significantly longer lifespan compared other lamp technologies.
LED lighting is also becoming popular in commercial areas and residences. However, what is concerning is the fact that the users have very little awareness about LED technology. They are not at all aware of the fact that poorly-designed, manufactured and wrongly implemented LED streetlights can have ill-effects on human and animal health, and the environment, and can also infringe on the citizens’ privacy. Hence, it is extremely important for the users as well as the common people to know about the devastating effects of poorly-designed LED streetlights
The good side of LED lighting
One of the main highlights of LED street lighting is that it is helping in creating smart connected cities. For instance, UK city Doncaster have recently installed 33,000 wirelessly connected LED streetlights, that feature a revolutionary low-power, and ultra-narrow broadband wireless technology to efficiently convert each lamp post into a router .Los Angeles has also recently installed connected street poles, which act as 4G LTE cellular towers.
Ill-effects of poorly designed & installed LED streetlights
It is expected that LED streetlights will soon be equipped with digital signage, Wi-Fi routers and CCTV cameras. They will have multiple sensors that monitor traffic flows, noise pollution, hyper-local weather, nearby parking spaces and traffic flows.
In short, smart LED streetlights are advancing towards making our lives better and smoother. Nonetheless, as responsible citizens, we should be aware of certain concerns before it is too late.
There is no doubt that LED streetlightswith sensors will bring numerous benefits. However, this also raises concerns over their never-ending collection of datawith the help of sensors. The future streetlights will come with sensors that will track a person’sphone conversationor even his heartbeat as he passesfrom near the LED streetlights. It is, therefore, essential for citizens to be aware of what and why their data is being used for.
It is reported that in many places LED streetlightsare being poorly installed with no proper research or consultation, which has created health issues for the citizens.
White LED street lighting is not only energy-efficient but also last longer as compared to orange high-pressure sodium lights. Hence, such sodium lights are being quickly replaced with LED lights. But, there are some ongoing concerns
The glare of the white LED streetlights makes it hard to see anything in the shadows thrown by cars and trees.
Poorly selected LED streetlights create a clinical white light.
White LED lamps have five times greater impact on circadian sleep rhythms than the lights they replace.
LEDs havea great deal of blue light, which has ill-effects on human and animal health, according to the American Medical Association. The blue light created inside the LED is transformed to white with the help of phosphor coatings, which absorb some of the light energy and switch it into warmer yellow lights.The quantity of blue light that people are being exposed to is becoming uncontrollable.
Hence, it is advisable to go for lights that are highly efficient yet pleasant to the eye and less damaging.
Beside such health and privacy issues, there is still hope for smarter, better and safer cities as certain technologies have come to the forefront to provide feasible solutions.