A petition calling for the replacement of white LED street lights by warmer lighting or a filter has started to gather steam.

The petition notes that in many localities in Malta and Gozo, street lights have been changed from sodium lights to LED white lights.

"Sodium light emits warm bright light which, apart from being aesthetically pleasing to the eye because it complements the colour and texture of the Maltese limestone, it also effects us psychologically in a positive way particularly in contrast to the newly installed LED white lights," the petition says.

"As researchers from the Harvard Medical School have found, LED white/blue light has a negative effect on the body’s biological clock and can also contribute to a number of diseases as well as obesity (http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side).

"Besides the above, bright white LED lighting creates a potential danger for traffic accidents and less safer environment for pedestrians. This is due to the narrow beam angle of these lights which only light up a restricted area leaving many parts of the street in pitch darkness. This effects our vision even more when one looks directly into the lights."

The petition says such consequences can be avoided by either replacing them with LEDs, which emit a warmer light, are still energy efficient and produce less light pollution, or by adding warm light filters to the presently installed lamps.

A number of those who signed the petition added their comments.

"The warm lighting enhances the environment," said Rachel Williams. "The removal of it removes with it the heart of the islands. They are not cold, unfeeling, clinical places - they are warm and welcoming inside and out, both the people and their environment and buildings."

Carmen Lanteri said the white lights have ruined all the warm atmosphere in country and village cores.

Robert Smith sand that in one fell swoop, (and apparently without public consultation?) the whole character of these islands was being changed after dark from a warm, friendly and welcoming place to an austere, cold and sterile environment.

"The original lighting was integral to the islands' environment and often held 'magical' qualities for residents and visitors alike. For residents it is a very poor, ill judged decision that affects their home and surroundings, but for returning tourists, it will be a disastrous move and will render the islands unrecognisable after dark."

Sonya Xerri said the new lights were too bright and very annoying.

The petition is addressed to Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi.


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