Identify the major reasons causing the light pollution in urban areas. Examine the methods to control excessive usage of external lighting. BY aakk1234991 Light pollution is an issue that affects the livability of a city. Although it is not always considered as a serious environmental concern, it Is an issue that has serious impact on the environment, ecology and society. Outdoor lighting Is designed with a purpose. External lighting Is considered as functional lighting. However, over-11th outdoor lamps including traffic lamps and advertisement spotlights have led to 377 implants to various government departments in 2009 (Imaging, 2010).
The problem of light pollution have arouse much concerns. Are there any government policies that regulate the lighting at night and protect the dark sky of Hong Kong? This paper argues the main causes of light pollution as well as evaluating current polices on restricting unnecessary lighting In the city. To begin with, the term light pollution must be defined first. According to the International Dark-sky Association (IDA), light pollution is defined as “any adverse effect of artificial light including sky low, glare, light trespass, light clutter, decreased visibility at night, and energy waste” (IDA, 2010).
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Urban sky glow is defined as “the brightening of the night sky over inhabited areas (IDA, 2009). Light trespass is defined as light falling to places where it is not Intended, wanted or needed (IDA, 2009). Clutter is the bright, confusing and excessive groups of light sources commonly found In over-11th urban cycles (IDA, 2009). The combined effects of sky glow, light trespass and clutter leads to light pollution in the city. There are 2 main objectives of outdoor lighting. The first objective is to revive visibility (Marinara & Schroeder, 2004).
Traffic light and headlights on motor vehicles are essential to provide a certain amount of visible distance for the drivers to drive safely. Headlights are designed such that the maximum amount of luminous flux Is parallel to the road. However, there Is always light escaped from the designed direction and reach the outer part of the road. As a result, observers standing beside the road can receive a considerable amount of unwanted light (Marinara & Schroeder, 2004). The huge amount of traffic on roads therefore is a great cause for eight pollution.
The second purpose of outdoor lighting is to decorate the city at night (Marinara & Schroeder, 2004). Commercial activity at night must come along with a well lit environment. People are attracted by high-quality outdoor lighting on the streets to go shopping and leisure activities at night, Neon lights, outdoor advertisements and spotlights are the characteristics of the night view of Hong Kong. “A Symphony of Lights” organized by the Hong Kong Tourism Board since 2004 is a synchronized laser and light multimedia display which has attracted millions of rigorists (Tourism Commission, 2005).
Tourists are also attracted to see the charming view of the Victoria Harbor at night. However, the charming night view of the Harbor has become the cover story of an International astronomy magazine, being an commercial activities at night are another reason for light pollution. Observations for astronomy objects are very difficult to make as a consequence of light pollution. Lighting of industrial sites, airports, building sites, road and street lighting, advertising signs, floodlighting of buildings, lighting of sports facilities may interfere tit astronomical observations (Marinara & Schroeder, 2004).
A phenomenon called sky glow is the reason for dimmed astronomy objects. The upward light from poorly designed lamps are scattered and reflected downwards by aerosols in the atmosphere, reducing the details of the night sky (Motion 2002). Stargazing activities are therefore seriously affected by sky glow as many of the twinkle stars are covered up by the bright night. Wasted lighting is costly to the environment. The greenhouse gases produced and fossil fuel consumed on lighting is notable. Although street lighting consumed only 0. % in overall electricity consumption in 2009 (Census and Statistics Department, 2008), the overall effect cannot be neglected. Road lamps in Hong Kong are automatic. When the environment reach a certain darkness level. However, the lamps will not be turned off if there is no body nearby. They are kept on for the whole night even though they are not in use. Advertisement boards waste even more energy. A non-government organization Friends of the Earth launched a “Ridiculous Lightings Vote” in 2008. Spotlight outside the Windsor House was elected as the most ridiculous lighting by more than 600 citizens.
The luminance level was 10,000 lug, which was 20 times brighter than a normal office (FOE, 2008). High-rise buildings in Hong Kong always use spotlights and LED to make their appearance sharper at night. One can see the advertisement display on the wall of Hopeless Center in Hawaiian across the Harbor. Even worst is that these highly laminated advertisement boards remain bright the whole night long. Another environmental group, Green Sense, conducted a study in 2007 to examine the number of neon lights, advertisement boards and spotlights that are still operating in major roads in
Mongo Kook and This Shah Thus at 2300. The study revealed that a total of 1330 spotlights were used for 120 advertisement boards. 91 neon lights were still operating even though the shop concerned was closed (Green Sense, 2007). This kind of decorative lightings are obviously a kind of wastage. Light pollution has a significant impact on individual’s health. Human beings are adapted too light/dark regime of 12 hours of sunlight and 12 hours of darkness depending on latitude and season (as cited in Ashram, 2009, p. 23).
According to Ashram (2009), “The primary unction of the human circadian rhythm, as set by the internal clock and outside visual reference, is the release of hormones that help to regulate varying bodily functions in response to the internal perception of time” (p. 25). Light pollution is a form of annoyance. According to the World Health Organization, annoyance is described as follows, “Annoyance is a feeling of displeasure associated with any agent or condition believed to affect adversely an individual or a group” (as cited in Marinara & Schroeder, 2004, p. 79).
Friends of the Earth (HOOK) discovered that more Han 1900 street lamps are mounted on the wall of buildings. These lamps are too close to the residents and cause nuisance to them (FOE, 2009). They are like a kind of free bedside light turned on for the whole night with a strong intensity. A local resident, Mr.. Fond, described, “The floodlight here switches off after 1200. The light is floodlight. In order to have good rest, I have to put up three layers of curtain” (Sing Tao Ltd, 2007). It is obvious that this kind of wall lamps may cause annoyance to the residents.
Nevertheless, the impact on health caused by light pollution is significant ND cannot be neglected. To be frank, there is no single department dealing with light pollution currently. Even worst is that there is no laws and guidelines regulating the problem of over-lit outdoor lamps. The former Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Dry Sarah Lila replied to a question raised in a Legislative Council meeting in 2007 as follow: Light nuisance that may result from advertisement light boxes on the external face of buildings for the purpose of advertisement is not subject to control under the existing environmental legislations… E light intensity of these facilities and whether they cause nuisance to nearby residents falls outside the current scope of control. (HUSSAR Government, 2007) The government cannot control any of the measures that directly lead to light pollution such as light intensity, direction of the luminous flux and angle of operation. Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Change, expressed that the government would consider the feasibility of legislation to regulate external lighting in the view point of energy wastage in a meeting in the Legislative Council in 2009 (HUSSAR Government, 2009).
This suggests that the government would only consider the perspective on energy wastage but not the impact of light pollution on individuals and the ecosystem. As there is no measures that deal with light pollution, what methods can be used to regulate unnecessary external lighting? Light pollution cannot be alleviated solely by private initiative since it is not a problem that directly threatens the health of the general public. Legislation, therefore, is the only way to deal with the problem (Marinara & Schroeder, 2004). In some Europe countries like the Czech Republic, Belgium and
Spain, legislation have been made concerning light pollution. In other parts of the world, various guidelines and regulations have been adopted (Olivarez del Castillo et al. , 2003). Zoning and hour of restriction (curfew time) are the 2 parameters that are generally used to control light pollution (Marinara & Schroeder, 2004). Zoning is a method dividing areas into zones. One of the methods is dividing the city into environment sub-zones (Marinara & Schroeder, 2004). Different standards of restrictions are imposed in different areas.
The city would be beautified by a decent environmental zoning scheme. An effective environmental zoning scheme also discourages unwanted light and alleviates light pollution (Aka, 2008). Hour of restriction (curfew time) is a method restricting the operating time of outdoor lightings. The major consideration of setting hour of restriction is to ensure a better resting environment at night. In order to identify the appropriate time for restricting outdoor lightings, working and rest hour are the 2 major considerations. As for the case in Hong Kong, 1 1 pm would be a suitable time.
However, switching off outdoor advertisement light boxes may decrease incentives for entertainment at night and even mislead others that the shop is closed. Nevertheless, curfew time would be an effective way of alleviating light pollution (Aka, 2008). To conclude, It can be seen that light pollution causes serious destruction to the society and the environment. Lack of regulations is the main reason that leads to brightened night sky. By taking suitable The aim of achieving sustainable usage of energy and utility can be met. After implementing suitable measures to regulate light pollution, the city would be a more livable place to live in.