SKYSCRAPERS,BRIDGES, KILLING MIGRATING BIRDS!
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN ISTANBUL AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT US?
Light pollution increases due to the increasing population, even in Istanbul, which is the favourite of Turkey and the world. Business, shopping centers and skyscrapers (especially Levent region) historical-religious buildings, parks, gardens, roads and bridge lighting are among the important factors that increase light pollution.
Istanbul is also one of the world's busiest bird migration routes. Millions of birds migrating between Africa and Europe in Spring and Autumn each year, use Istanbul forests and water resources to pass through Istanbul skies. Considering all these reasons, it is thought that the 3rd bridge and 3rd airport projects will harm the migration routes of birds.
In addition, General Director of Nature Association Engin Yılmaz emphasized that the light pollution and Nature damage caused by these structures will cause the extinction of millions of migrating birds.
Of course, because of the light pollution. The light in the sky, which adversely affects the environment, astronomical research, is called light pollution. The concept of light pollution has emerged as a result of errors in lighting due to the excessive and improper use of light sources with technology developed in the 20th century. Research has shown that light pollution causes deterioration of ecological balance over time, decrease in biological diversity and has started to affect the biological health of people.
The negative effects of light pollution on city, human and living have been proven by experiments. The light pollution which threatens the living life causes the ecological balance to be disrupted and population change which causes the extinction of some animals.
HOW DOES THE MIGRATION MECHANISM WORK AMONG BIRDS?
Whatever the precise mechanism, artificial lights are obviously affecting birds ' ability to guide themselves.
Migratory birds take a variety of clues from the environment to find their own direction, such as the various prominent earth shapes in the world, the positions of the sun and the stars, and the magnetic field of the earth. Animals such as birds, bees, and ants that migrate during the day, while referring to the position of the sun, birds which migrate overnight refer the position of stars. The lighthouse, illuminated skyscrapers or facilities located on the routes of night migratory birds affect the migration mechanism of birds.
It is possible to understand the reason for this from the experiment conducted by Wiltschko and Muheim in 2002 in the laboratory environment. According to the experiment, it was observed that migratory birds needed light from the blue - green part of the spectrum to find the direction of the magnetic compass. Red light, a long wavelength component of light, has at least prevented birds from finding magnetic aspects in laboratory conditions. That's why in 2016, the American Medical Association officially recognized the damage to badly designed and dense LED lights and encouraged communities to reduce the use of blue light. With this, it is aimed to benefit both birds and other migrating living beings and humans. At the same time, on cloudy nights, birds were more affected by artificial
light sources due to the lack of access to natural light sources.
IT'S HAPPENED BEFORE!
To mention a few experiments on this subject, the glowing signs in the communication towers attract migratory birds, sometimes causing thousands of birds collide in one night. An unpublished study by scientist Joelle Gehring from Michigan State University shows that towers will reduce bird mortality by turning solid red lights into flashing lanterns.
Another study was conducted during the September 11 commemoration event in Manhattan. In the research published by the National Academy of Sciences, it was stated that during the illumination of the monument, composed of 44 spots and two pillars, birds gathered in this area and flew loudly around the monument several times.
From now on, it was found that the birds ' flights returned to normal when the lights of the monuments were turned off due to the mourning. The lights of the monument were extinguished and turned on in 20-minute periods for 7 years from 2010. Researchers compiled the data that the light of the monument attracted birds and caused changes in migration paths, the bird density around the monument increased 20 times more than normal and as a result of this the birds were killed by colliding with each other or with the buildings.
WHAT HAVE WE DONE? WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
At the UN UNISPACE conference, Member States agreed to introduce legal arrangements to protect national economy against light pollution and save energy.
In order to raise awareness of the public about the fight against light pollution, it was decided to give trainings and organize conferences at regular intervals. In this context, initiatives against the threat of light pollution started in the 1990s.
Initiatives in our country began in the 1990s, as well. A working group was established together with TÜBİTAK National Observatory, ITU, TEDAŞ, TSE and KGM, and the draft of "Electricity Outdoor Lighting Directive" was drafted.
In our interview with bird watching club members, in Kadıköy Maarif College, about the damage of birds , they also highlighted the importance of the precautions to prevent light pollution and the damage caused to birds, such as reducing the lights used in skyscrapers, sea lights, bridges and airports and reducing the colour of light used in the migration mechanism and they pointed out that studies should be carried out.
When all this is taken into consideration,it is enough to prevent pollution from getting rid of unnecessary light, which we do not need in light alone. Our goal is to develop artificial lighting friendly to birds that meet human safety requirements but do not attract birds and affect their magnetic mechanism. The negative effects of the unconscious and misuse of night and day lighting and the problems in ecological balance should be expressed.
 *Istanbul Technical University
**Turkish Electricity Distribution Corporation
***Turkish Standarts Institution
****General Directorate of Highways
SİMGE AYDINYER PINAR TUNCER İSMAİL CEM AĞDAŞ