Light Pollution In Hong Kong Environmental Sciences Essay

Hong Kong is well-known as the Pearl of the Orient because of its bright visible radiations of skyline at dark. It is by and large acknowledged by concern parties that the brighter the visible radiations in the metropolis, the more concern chances they will catch. ( Lau, 2012 ) Nevertheless, behind this glamourous metropolitan metropolis, the overexploitation of outdoor illuming installations forfeits Hong Kong ‘s valuable natural resources and citizens ‘ good life environment. Light pollution caused by it has been increasing quickly and is an environmental job, which besides has similar inauspicious impacts as other pollution such as air, noise, plagued Hong Kong in this decennary. Therefore, the Government has taken a matter-of-fact attack to undertake the job with an issue of Guidelines on Industry Best Practices for External Lighting Installations at the beginning of this twelvemonth. ( Environment Bureau, et al. , 2012 ) However, it is deemed to be far less than plenty to ease serious light pollution in this booming metropolis.

The intent of this paper is twofold: ( 1 ) to discourse how light pollution affect the environment and occupants ; and ( 2 ) to analyse relation between light pollution job and different facet which include public consciousness, concern and jurisprudence.

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Background of Light Pollution

Light pollution, besides known as photopollution or aglow pollution, is the change of natural visible radiation degrees in the out-of-door environment owing to unreal light beginnings. The addition in dark sky brightness due to light pollution diminishes the position of stars and planets. ( Cinzano, et al. , 2000 ) Generally, out-of-door visible radiations ab initio are designed for lighting a specific country on the land or wall, but in world, some visible radiation slop out to a much larger country. ( Pun & A ; So, 2009 ) Some lighting installations even direct upward and this cause a much more serious light pollution.

In Hong Kong, harmonizing to the informations collected by the Department of Physics at The University of Hong Kong since 2003, the urban dark sky is on mean 100 times brighter than the darkest rural sites. ( Pun & A ; So, 2009 ) This indicates that high population and illuming densenesss can worsen light pollution job. Excessive usage of strong limelights for lighting advertisement hoardings and immense Ne marks on commercial edifice are the chief factors of light pollution job in Hong Kong. Other pollution beginnings include street lamps with hapless design of lamp shades and indicating way and other unreal illuming with small respect to fixture shielding.

To contract the range of light pollution beginning discussed in this paper, it will chiefly concentrate at illuming installations for commercial usage.

Adverse Impact of Light Pollution

Light Pollution has inauspicious consequence on natural environment and human existences, such as energy wastage break to ecosystem and wellness jobs. ( Cheung, 2010 )

Excessive usage of visible radiations leads to a wastage of energy. Some neon marks and visible radiations for lighting advertisement hoardings switch on even at midnight when there are merely a few people on the street who may hold a opportunity to look at the advertizements. This energy wastage may worsen air pollution every bit good as planetary warning job because Hong Kong ‘s electricity is generated utilizing coal and natural gas. ( HK Electric, 2011 ) The coevals of electricity emits C dioxide and other air pollutants. Carbon dioxide is a nursery gas. Its addition in atmosphere causes an addition of the temperature world-wide. ( Narisada & A ; Schreuder, 2004 ) The inordinate usage of illuming installations for commercial usage is non indispensable in our lives and this non merely leads to light pollution but besides other pollution job such as planetary heating and exhaustion of non-renewable resources.

As for ecosystem, being an of import stop-over point of the East Asia-Australasian Flyway for migratory birds, Hong Kong ‘s inordinate out-of-door lightings may impact migratory every bit good as non-migratory birds. It may disorient physiological rhythms and the motion of animate beings. ( Travis & A ; Catherine, 2004 ) The genteelness forms of nocturnal animate beings and insect populations and direction of metamorphosis, development and life programmes of workss are besides affected adversely. ( Deda, et al. , 2007 )

Human existences may besides be the victim of light pollution chiefly because their life environment is brighter due to the strong light pollution beginning such as neon mark. A brighter dark country will do them hard to hold a satisfactory sleeping at dark. Sleep break may do crossness, fatigue and jitteriness in the undermentioned twenty-four hours. ( Wu & A ; Wong, 2012 ) Their unsusceptibility to disease may besides diminish and in turn lead to a longer-term wellness hazards. ( The Campaign for Dark Skies, 2009 ) Break of sleeping is the most concerned inauspicious impact by the populace since it is the most evident consequence observed in their lives.

Light Pollution and Public Awareness

Light pollution job is complicated by public ignorance. In the yesteryear, the general populace was unmindful to the harm being done and did non value what was destroyed by light pollution. ( Berry, 1976 ) Fortunately, the increasing grounds of inauspicious effects mentioned above brand people start to pay more attending on this issue, but still it is non the most concerned pollution job in Hong Kong. When local occupants were asked about which environmental issues they are most concerned in 2008, more than a half answered imbibing H2O pollution, air pollution, and planetary warning. ( DeGolyer, 2008 ) Light pollution even did non look in the pick of replies. This may be because light pollution job merely get down to acquire high promotion in this decennary while the populace has been educated about other pollution job for a long clip. Public consciousness with intrinsic cognition has played an of import function in work outing environmental job. ( Bickerstaff & A ; Walker, 2001 ) Take air pollution as an illustration, the community at big is cognizant of this job. The Government, environmental groups, persons who are environmentalism and other stakeholders have taken a batch of actions to undertake the job such as implementing extenuation steps, raising public consciousness on this issue and seeking their small attempt to take practical action. Therefore, public consciousness contributes to the easiness of pollution even though the pollution degree has non met an acceptable degree yet.

It may be delighting to observe that the public consciousness of light pollution job seems to be originating but this may be because more light pollution beginnings which are chiefly from commercial parties exists in urban country. There is a turning figure of people lodging ailments about light pollution to the governments. Harmonizing to the statistic provided by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr. Edward Yau at the Legislative Council in 2010, ailments about light pollution had increased from 103 in 2007 to 389 in 2009. ( Hong Kong ‘s Information Services Department, 2010 ) This indicates that more light pollution exists in Hong Kong and therefore more people are concerned about this pollution job because it straight affects their life quality to some extent. This addition of public consciousness has helped to ease light pollution in Hong Kong. There are more people to press the Government to hold more matter-of-fact steps in turn toing the job. When ailments are received from bordering occupants, some commercial edifice proprietors such as The One shopping composite in Tsim Sha Tsui are besides willing to cut down the brightness of their lighting installations. ( Cheung, 2011 ) However, the degree of public consciousness on light pollution in Hong Kong is far less than plenty for a success in work outing this job. Education and promotion steps could be used to increase it so that it can actuate the community to undertake light pollution job with more attempt.

Light Pollution and Business

Hong Kong ‘s economic system relies on commercial and touristry industry to a great extent. These two industries correlate closely with the progressively serious light pollution job.

Commercial sector relies on illuming to pull concern. So, usage of illuming installations is apprehensible. However, overexploitation and over-brightness of their lighting installations are the chief factor of light pollution and should be reduced. Business parties by and large pay small attending on light pollution caused by them, even though they emphasize corporate societal duty. Some of them think that exchanging off the visible radiations required by the populace will extinguish Hong Kong ‘s economic activities at dark and deprive local occupants of a late dinner interruption. If occupants nearby are non satisfied with their bright visible radiations, they can take to populate in a dimmer territory. ( Cheung, 2011 ) So, most of them do non take any practical action to relieve light pollution job caused by them.

Another job is due to Hong Kong ‘s celebrated skyline at dark which entices tourers. A bulk of tourers visit Hong Kong chiefly due to its repute on neon visible radiations. They look frontward to bask a dramatic dark position in Victoria Harbour with many neon marks on skyscrapers on two sides of the seaport. Since Hong Kong ‘s economic system is reliant on touristry, the Government introduced “ A Symphony of Lights ” which combines synergistic visible radiations of constructing around Victoria Harbour in 2004 to hike touristry industry. ( Tourism Commission, 2005 ) So, concern parties may believe that light pollution is merely a little side-effect of booming touristry industry and fast economic development.

These visible radiations and immense Ne marks are portion of Hong Kong ‘s civilization and are frequently used by commercial sector and even the Government as a tool for pulling tourers and local clients to purchase their merchandise and therefore stimulate economic system. However, in an sentiment study conducted in 2010, people who visited countries of intensive external lighting, including tourers, clients, have a higher proportion sing external lighting marks bright or excessively bright than store proprietors, edifice proprietors and belongings direction. ( Policy 21 Limited, 2010 ) So, this indicates that concern parties do non necessitate to utilize such high degree of brightness of illuming marks so to pull local and foreign clients. They can set the brightness to an acceptable degree so that people nearby will non be adversely affected by them while they could still utilize illuming marks to pull clients.

Light Pollution and the Law

In Hong Kong, there is no specific regulation with respect to light pollution. ( Legislative Council, 2011 ) Even the populace and green groups have urged the Government to present jurisprudence to battle light pollution, which is similar to what they did to work out other pollution jobs, the Government merely issued a guideline, viz. Guidelines on Industry Best Practices for External Lighting Installations, in January 2012. Different from an regulation, the voluntary guideline merely suggests the Government sections and private sector to hold a better external lighting installings. ( Environment Bureau, et al. , 2012 ) It is deemed to be toothless to relieve this progressively terrible environmental job as no 1 could implement concern partes. ( Cheung, 2011 )

One of the agruments for no statute law in Hong Kong is that some Asiatic states which have similar economic systems to Hong Kong do non follow any compulsory ordinance over external lighting. ( Legislative Council, 2011 ) However, the urban planning of Hong Kong and these states should besides be considered. Hong Kong has a comparatively hapless urban planning in the past because of rare land available for development, so residential and commercial edifices were ever buit following to each other in urban country, such as Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui ; while for other Asiatic states, their concern country has a clear speration from residential country. Therefore, they do non necessitate to utilize statute law on external lighting of commercial edifice to work out light pollution job. In fact, there are many states, such as Britiain and the United States with compulsory action in ordinance of external visible radiation. ( Legislative Council, 2011 ) Hong Kong Legislative Council should see the metropolis ‘s particular civilization and take partial attack in compulsory ordinance, such as merely curtailing the pertinence of regularoty model to new illuming installing. In add-on, the visible radiation from immense Ne marks and blinking visible radiations on the top of commercial edifices can even shed blood into residential flats nearby with dual drapes on Windowss. This job can non be solved merely by the occupants. Even though they compain to relative governments, the functionaries can non cut down the brightness of the pollution beginning due to miss of regulation. So, one of the reugulation may authorise the functionaries to implement commercial edifices to extenuate their light pollution beginning to an acceptable degree after a ailment about their lighting installations is lodged. As a consequence, the metropolis ‘s civilization – “ City of the Night ” will non be altered a batch after the debut of jurisprudence sing external lighting. A compulsory attack to work out light pollution job should be much better than a voluntary guideline.


Light pollution has been a widely-discussed subject in Hong Kong in this decennary. There has been a call to the Government for working in full swing to map out schemes to work out this environmental job efficaciously. A series of short to long term steps, including instruction, promotion and jurisprudence enforcement should be implemented. Apart from the Government, all sectors – households, communities and public and private organisations at every degree – must besides acknowledge their functions in relieving light pollution job in Hong Kong. In fact, the environment is a public resource that requires collaborative attempts of the whole community to conserve. It would be delighting to observe that everyone is enthusiastic in work outing this job and in the close hereafter, we will make for ourselves and our farther coevals a better and light-pollution-free metropolis in which to populate and work.


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