Singapore 21st March 2013
An interesting article in today’s newspaper…Hong Kong University researchers have found that their city is one of the worst light polluters in the world. In a report issued ahead of the upcoming Earth Hour this Saturday, they concluded that the city’s night sky more than 1000 times brighter than globally accepted levels, reference being international dark sky standards, which takes void-of-man-made lighting as a base measurement standard. In simpler words, the sky brightness if all man-made lights would be switched off, which pretty much leaves the moon and the stars as the only natural light source. The measurements were taken from no less than 5 million vantage points across the city, though the report did not specify how the brightness was measured.
Light pollutions in cities is an on-going discussion and it is no surprise that the Earth Hour and Dark Sky movements are gaining more and more popularity…and with reason! In some of my previous blogs I have brought up world’s longest LED media wall (Jakarta) and shown images of the Earth at night take from space showing how bright some cities are. Fact is that when you are in big cities like Shanghai, Tokio, London, Sydney (which are listed in the report as being considered bright), the light from media walls (LED!), façade lighting, advertisements, road, security and area lighting (!) can be quite overwhelming at times. While there is of course a middle way, it is a good reminder to all lighting designers to be very mindful of our environment and design with thought and intention.
Not to forget that excessive lighting besides energy wastage may also have unhealthy side effects disturbing peoples sleep and even more disturb the human body clock and hormones! More and more therefore we see cities putting out regulations in regards to amount and extent of lighting at night in attempts to fight light pollution, now a commonly accepted “evil”!
Light Watch 4-50: The Hong Kong city and skyline at night…