The Impact Of Light And Noise Pollution On The Environment


Several environmental pollutions have changed the evolution of plants, humans, and animals. Noise pollution and light pollution are the two main pollutants that we will be examining in this paper. Noise and light pollution affects many species’ habitats, behaviors, and development. These man-made sources are disturbing and imbalance the life of organisms. This not only affects their ability to function in the environment but their ability to reproduce. These pollutants change their biological clocks and create implications. Implications such as biodiversity, habitat structure, and the limitation of food resources are challenges that these animals must overcome.

Wildlife animals such as squirrel gliders (Petaurus norfolcensis) and the winter bird are two species that are affected tremendously. The natural diurnal patterns of light and dark are interrupted and this is what orchestrates the migratory patterns that these animals are innate to. The use of obtrusive artificial light alters the environment of these two animals. Exposure to these harmful elevated noises also affects the performance of these animals to survive in their natural habitats.

Urbanization plays a vital role in the increasing factors of noise and light pollution. Both of these species live in dominant urban areas. Urban areas have a huge amount of man-made outdoor sources. City traffic, construction, and industrial equipment are sources of noise pollution. LEDs, CFLs, and light poles are sources of light pollution that are harmful to these animals in many ways. These pollutant exposures led to a significant decline in animal health and the environment. We will further examine two articles: The influence of urban encroachment on squirrel gliders (Petaurus norfolcensis): effects of road density, light and noise pollution and the Habitat type, food resources, noise and light pollution explain the species composition, abundance and stability of a winter bird assemblage in an urban environment.

Top Writers
Verified expert
4.7 (657)
Verified expert
4.8 (309)
Verified expert
4.7 (239)
hire verified writer

We will examine these articles to gain a better understanding of these pollutants in hopes to raise awareness and mitigate these extreme circumstances.


Pollution is a problem well-known to many people. The lesser-known fact is the subtypes of pollution, which are; air, water, heat, light, noise, and soil. Each one of these pollutions has adverse effects on the biosphere and biotic factors within it. Although many are trying to raise awareness for the variety of contaminations, light and noise pollution have comparatively little data to elaborate on their hazards. Light pollution is defined by the man-made lightening of the night sky. This can affect sleep/wake cycles as well as predator/prey relationships in numerous species. Noise pollution is the anthropogenic noises that interrupt the natural audio. This can affect the same factors as light pollution. Noise and light pollution have negative consequences that impact humans, animals, and the climate. These consequences led to a decline in health, the extinction of animals, and changes the environment.

We have focused our essay on two specific articles. The first, The influence of urban encroachment on squirrel gliders (Petaurus norfolcensis): effects of road density, light and noise pollution by Mitchell J. Francis , Peter G. Spooner and Alison Matthews. In this article, they look into Petaurus norfolcensis’ environment and habits. They noted how urbanization has negatively impacted squirrels. This article is published in a reputable journal that is co-owned by the Australian Academy of Science.

The second article, Habitat type, food resources, noise, and light pollution explains the species composition, abundance, and stability of a winter bird assemblage in an urban environment by Michał Ciach and Arkadiusz Fröhlich. This article was on a broader subject, the authors focused on the bird species (64) in a Polish city and how urbanization affected the birds’ activity. This article had slightly variant results from the first, as light pollution did not have a significant negative impact on the subject. This article is published in Urban Ecosystems, a journal focused on urban effects.

These two articles focus on urban areas as this is where there are the most significant variances from the natural ecosystem. Due to the significant results from the urban research, we know that these pollutions need to be reduced to support wildlife. The hopes of those who have completed this research are for more data to be discovered, so an effective method to reduce pollution can be determined. If more research funded, light and noise pollutions effects on suburban and rural environments could be documented as well.


Squirrel Gliders

Sixty locations in Thurgoona, SE to Australia, were monitored by field surveys conducted on hollow-bearing trees. The survey was conducted in July 2013 at the beginning of the breeding season for squirrel gliders. The treeshad to meet six conditions: rough barked Eucalyptus (detect squirrel gliders), at least seventy cm in diameter, visible hollows, two branches of 5m, accessible trees, and safely accessed. Trees selected were 250m apart which totaled out to be 34 trees in the urban and rural matrix. Infrared motion sensored cameras were used to detect the activity of squirrel gliders. Bait such as honey and peanut butter were used to attract the gliders. Cameras were operated for twenty-four hours a day for seventeen nights. Tree and site attributes were recorded and so were light levels. The activity was determined from a count of the number of trap nights where at least one squirrel glider was present (number of nights recorded/number of trap nights 100). Fourteen nights (from the date of deployment) were used for subsequent statistical analysis. Descriptive statistics (Spearman’s rank correlation and Kruskal–Wallace nonparametric tests) were used to explore relationships among squirrel glider occupancy, activity, and the site and landscape variables by using Spotfire S+ statistical software (TIBCO Software Inc. 2010). The mean values for occupancy and activity were tested between the urban and rural matrix areas. The Wilcoxon rank-sum tests were used for this. There were a total of 15 variables that affected the results. These variables included GPS, diameter at breast height, distance to the nearest hollow-bearing tall tree, density of trees, vegetation cover, number of shrubs, road density, type of road, maximum light, maximum noise, distance to urban edge, distance to perennial creeks, and distance to the highway. The variables were then determined to see which would best predict the squirrel glider occupancy. Activity levels were predicted based on a zero-inflated generalized model (GLM).

Winter Birds

Fifty-six bird plots were selected randomly and monitored by the Quantum GIS software (QGIS). There were over sixty-eight bird species in Krakow. Sample plots were then divided into 389 1 km by 1 km. The coordinates of 50°N and 20°E was used in every sample plot.The squares were then subdivided into smaller squares, 500m by 500m. One of the four squares was chosen randomly for the plot count. Each study plot had a 500m long transect marked out. Due to buildings, fences and walls the ideal longitudinal/latitudinal path was not followed. Birds were counted during the winter of 2014 and 2015. They carried two surveys each year during early winter and late winter. Two-week gaps lapsed between each survey. Counting was then done by the linear transect. Birds seen or heard that wear within 100m of the two sides of the transect were counted. The birds were counted during rain-free, snow-free, and windless days between 8:00-15:00 Central Eastern time. Variables included water, roads, buildings, and landfills. These measurements were calculated by the center of the plot to the nearest surface of water or land. The emission of pollutants was measured by the pollution map of the city. The emission of noise was measured during the darkness and calculated by the range area of each plot. Light pollution was measured by the light pollution map. Food sources were calculated in the study plots and the mean was taken from both seasons. The sum of the species from the surveys represented the number of species recorded. The mean of the two surveys per season represented the density of the birds. The sum of the species was then totaled within the two years and the mean from the two years was calculated. Below is a table that shows the variables from the environment with more description.


In order to get the information required to see the adverse effects of noise and light pollution on the environment, we compiled various articles that express the negative impacts noise and light pollution has on the biota in environments. Michal Ciach and Arkadiusz Fröhlich conducted field research in the city of Kraków in southern Poland.(Ciach, Micha, and Fröhlich Arkadiusz). The authors discovered that noise pollution had an impact on the species density and richness when researching the winter birds in Kraków. The authors also explicitly point out that this effect is referred to as the “urban effect”. The concept of the “urban effect” was further explained and the authors discovered that noise had an adverse effect on species number and density while artificial light had an oddly positive effect on the winter birds monitored during Michal Ciach’s research.

We then compared this article to another article attempting to explain the effects of light and noise pollution on squirrel gliders written by Mitchell J. Francis, Peter G.

Spooner and Alison Matthews.They had discovered that the squirrel gliders were less common around areas of high light and noise pollution similar to the previous.The authors were able to verify that both noise and light pollution have a negative effect on the density of squirrel gliders. Although the squirrel gliders were still present in areas of high light and noise pollution, the density was low enough to be significant. The authors further their conclusions and explain that although the squirrel gliders will tolerate higher noise and light pollution, the overall impact that it may have on the viability of the species is unknown. They advise that to help circumvent the issue further, that methods and solutions should be developed to help the negative impacts it may have on the native species within the cities. The overall concept is that noise and light pollution is having an effect on the two species being reviewed in the research articles we have discussed that it’s likely that a similar scenario is certain to occur when further research is conducted on various other urban animals. The best way to circumvent this issue, is to develop and lessen the vast amount of noise and light pollution that is emitted from cities throughout the world, especially the locations expected to have a vast amount of noise and light pollution.


Habitat type, food resources, noise and light pollution explain the species composition, abundance and stability of a winter bird assemblage in an urban environment results were measured and determined the factors that had a significant p value (p>0.08). The parameters that had the largest positive impacts on wintering birds are the area of urban greenery, light pollution, and sources of food. The factor that had the largest negative impact was nocturnal noise pollution.

The influence of urban encroachment on squirrel gliders (Petaurus norfolcensis): effects of road density, light and noise pollution results were conclusive that the activity of glider squirrels was more prevalent in rural areas. The determining factors of glider activity were road density and light pollution, with a negative correlation. The parameter that most affected glider occurrence was noise pollution, also with a negative correlation.


Noise and light pollutions have major effects on the ecosystem. Although one of the articles states a positive factor for light pollution it is given for a specific circumstance. The wintering birds are locating an area that produces warmth and extended daytime, similar to migratory species. The other article provides data showing the correlation between both pollutions and a decrease in gliders occurrence and activity.

The important conclusion from both articles is that urban areas do affect the wildlife that once inhabited the area. The two articles focus on arboreal species, and this is stressed as trees in urban areas are a critical ecosystem requirement. The gliders article also emphasizes the importance of finding solutions to anthropogenic influences for conservation purposes.


  1. Ciach, M., and A. Fröhlich. “Habitat Type, Food Resources, Noise and Light Pollution Explain the Species Composition, Abundance and Stability of a Winter Bird Assemblage in an Urban Environment.” Urban Ecosystems 20, no. 3 (2017): 547–59.
  2. Francis, M.J., P.G. Spooner, and A. Matthews. “The Influence of Urban Encroachment on Squirrel Gliders (Petaurus Norfolcensis): Effects of Road Density, Light and Noise Pollution.” Wildlife Research 42, no. 4 (2015): 324–33.
  3. “Globe at Night – What Is Light Pollution?” Accessed November 11, 2018.
  4. “Noise Pollution | Environmental Pollution Centers.” Accessed November 11, 2018.
  5. “Pollution: Causes and Effects – Conserve Energy Future.” Accessed November 11, 2018.

Cite this page

The Impact Of Light And Noise Pollution On The Environment. (2021, Apr 16). Retrieved from

Are You on a Short Deadline? Let a Professional Expert Help You
Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7