- Title: CHINA: Bright and blinking Hong Kong Christmas lights seen as "light pollution"
- Date: 23rd December 2007
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (English) SHOPPER JACKIE CHOW SAYING: "I think it's a wasting of energy. It's really bad. I don't think it's quite necessary." BILLBOARD, LIGHTS ON TALL BUILDINGS SHOWING GLIMPSE OF NIGHT SKY (SOUNDBITE) (English) SHOPPER JEFF YU SAYING: "For just a couple of weeks I think it's okay. But if for a long time like the other neon lights, it's not good."
- Embargoed: 7th January 2008 12:00
- Location: China
- Country: China
- Topics: Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA9O5TT4P06ZIJW335QANG9FQB4
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Hong Kong is famous for its bright Christmas lights, but environmental activists are becoming increasingly concerned about the effect of those lights as they block out the night sky and waste precious energy.
During the Christmas season, lights, neon billboards, and blinking decorations light up crowded shopping districts.
These lights are often considered part of Hong Kong's Christmas glamour, serving like an alarm clock to lure shoppers in the stores in time for gifts giving.
But some experts say they are a waste of energy.
"Instead of lights that we are able to use, you know for security reasons, for various commercial reasons actually these are energy lost. These are lights lost. And these just become the haze background, the light background that we call light pollution," said Jason Pun, an Assistant Professor of Physics at Hong Kong University.
Many shoppers in Hong Kong's crowded Causeway Bay shopping district agree.
"I think it's a wasting of energy. It's really bad. I don't think it's quite necessary," said shopper Jackie Chow.
One shopper agrees the lights are too bright. He says they should be allowed for the festive season only.
"For just a couple of weeks I think it's okay. But if for a long time like the other neon lights, it's not good," said Jeff Yu.
Astronomers in particular are concerned about the effect of light pollution, claiming it is becoming near-impossible to see the night sky due to the cloud of haze caused by blinking lights.
Hong Kong University's Pun is leading a government-sponsored study measuring the brightness of the night sky in urban areas compared to quieter areas on the edge of the territory. Early conclusions show that the night sky is 30 times brighter in urban areas.
"There's a whole generation of young children who grow up without actually being able to see the night sky because when they turn their heads up in the sky all they see is just regular gray haze. They don't see any of the stars and planets," said Pun Hong Kong retailers have yet to take account of the effects of light pollution. Retailers are content thanks to a strong local economy and a surge of mainland China tourists who come to Hong Kong for shopping and dining tours.
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