SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Light pollution is the presence of unwanted, inappropriate, or excessive artificial lighting. Light pollution can have several consequences such as washing out starlight in the night sky, interferes with astronomical research, disrupts ecosystems, and can have adverse health effects.
A common example of wasted light is street lamps and the city of Ozark is trying to avoid and reduce light pollution by approving a dark sky ordinance.
“The purpose of this ordinance is to basically point the light downward,” said Stephen Childers, Ozark City Administrator.
“You don’t want that light to be up,” said Ozark Director Of Planning And Development, Cameron Smith. “It’s just a waste of lighting when it’s up in the air. You want that light to be cast down on the ground where you need that light. And also to remove a glare.”
The ordinance does not affect current or future single-family residences. It only applies to any new construction of multi-family and commercial projects.
“It doesn’t mean you can’t continue to use your lights the same way you are,” said Childers. “Whether they be yard lights or anything, it doesn’t affect you at Christmas time or any other time.”
The city of Ozark says safety will not be an issue as the light will be directed in the correct area. The ordinance will;l also help preserve the sky.
“We are on the cusp of being in that point where, if we don’t do anything now, we might see a deterioration of our dark skies,” said Smith. “But our current levels are promising.”
City leaders are hopeful surrounding cities will adopt a similar ordinance to help reduce the effects of light pollution.
There is no set date of when the ordinance will take effect, but Childers says it should be within the next 30 days.