Taken from an interesting wiki post on the subject:
Light pollution poses a serious threat to wildlife, having negative impacts on plant and animal physiology. Light pollution can confuse animal navigation, alter competitive interactions, change predator-prey relations, and cause physiological harm. The rhythm of life is orchestrated by the natural diurnal patterns of light and dark, so disruption to these patterns impacts the ecological dynamics.
For the second year running street lights along some of Antigua's most important turtle nesting beaches are killing turtles. Dumping old technology isn't a new thing for the Chinese and the delighted our local politicians by giving them extremely energy hungry street lights for our roads at a time when we can't afford to pay for the fuel that powers them. Why they didn't give us solar powered lights like they even use in China I can only guess and that could be written about on another blog. Anyway these lights are killing turtles. For millions of years sea turtles, all of which are now on the endangered species list, have been nesting on Antigua's shores. These days many don't make it.
The Hawksbill Turtle nests between May and November typically but some females will come at other times during the year too. Leatherbacks and Green turtles nest during the same period at other times during the year. The reality is that there are turtles nesting in varying numbers during every month of the year here in Antigua and Barbuda. The summer months are the busiest.
Read this little piece I did for Antigua's Enjoy Magazine to get an idea about why turtles are being killed by the fairly new Chinese Street Lights and other light pollution here in Antigua:
When the Environmental Awareness Group (EAG) found out that Antigua was being given thousands of street lights by the Chinese government they sprang into action. Mykl Clovis who runs the Antigua Sea Turtle Program for the EAG, wrote a letter carefully explaining what normal regular street lights can do to nesting turtles and their hatchlings. She explained why it happens and gave solutions that are used in the USA and many other places around the world where turtles nest. Things like pointing the lights away from the beach, using different frequency bulbs, turning lights off during nesting times, putting the lights lower and behind beach vegetation. I am told that the letter was sent to the Prime Minister, the Fisheries Ministry, the Antigua Public Utilities Authority, the Environment Division, the Public Works Department, The DCA.... you name it and the letter was sent to them. When the EAG met with Cabinet some time in 2010 before the lights were turned on the issue was brought up again. The Prime Minister admitted that he had seen the letter himself. One of the Ministers was heard saying that nobody is going to tell him to turn off his lights! This was the minister responsible for an area where there are three important nesting beaches. Later that summer when the lights were on baby turtles were run over as they wandered around on the road adjacent to the beach.
Last night a mother turtle that had come up to lay on Jabbawock beach ended up in the middle of the brilliantly lit road. A driver nearly ran it over and pulled off to the side of the road. The lights along the road by the bridge were confusing the endangered species and it ended up falling off the bridge into the swamp. The driver saw it swim further into the swamp and away from the beach. As if things are not difficult enough for these amazing creatures!!!
I would like to see lights out along Jabbawock, Dark Wood Beach, Fryes Beach, Little Fryes, Crab Hill Beach and Turners. Then there is the street lights and sport's complex lights in Old Road. Why are the sports facility's lights left on all night when nobody is playing there? We must have money to burn in this country. There are many other beaches where artificial lights cause problems. These endangered animals are on our passports and our leaders just ignore science and reason and are letting them perish.
The day after I blogged this story, this youtube video was posted in Barbados:
It shows a nesting turtle that had been messed up by lights in exactly the same way that the one from jabbawock beach here did here on the same night.