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Light Pollution A Real Dilemma

Updated on May 28, 2008 – SCMP

In Hong Kong you see so many colourful neon signs and other forms of lighting on Nathan Road and parts of Mong Kok.

Friends of the Earth has argued that these garish signs are a waste of energy and affect people’s health.

However, the government faces a problem as the lights are very popular with tourists and the tourism industry is important to Hong Kong.

However, light pollution is a serious issue.

Some residents in Mong Kok have already said that the strong lights from advertising signs disturb their sleep. Some research has shown that it can adversely affect the sleep of babies in Hong Kong.

Do we need to use so many lights?

Some of the more garish signs do appear to be a waste of energy, just designed by companies to attract customers.

Friends of the Earth is actually organising tours to show how wasteful these lights are (“Nathan Road tours to expose lighting abuses”, May 13).

Businesses have to ask themselves if they really need to install so many bright spotlights.

From an environmental protection point of view I can see a case for banning spotlights. However, we do not want to harm the economy.

The government must try to strike the right balance between the needs of the environment and the protection of our economy.

Irene T. S. Diu, Tsz Wan Shan

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