February 21st, 2012
09:20 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – While Hong Kong cashes in on China’s staggering economic growth, many of the city’s residents are choking as a result of it.

If it isn’t air pollution that is causing health issues among locals: it’s light pollution.

While the bright tantalizing lights of Hong Kong’s skyline are iconic of Hong Kong’s image, they are also keeping people awake, rising stress levels and causing insomnia for residents like Wesley Wai, who put together a video called the “Lucifer Effect” to show how much light bleeds into his bedroom at night.  With rising property prices, residents like Wai often have few choices but to live in densely crowded, bright night areas.

Now Hong Kong’s government has taken its first steps towards combating light pollution with a set of guidelines for businesses in Hong Kong to follow regarding external lighting which includes neon lights and signage.

The guidelines encourage commercial buildings to turn off their lights after business hours and choosing energy-saving hardware for the next three years before creating standards to legally regulate external lighting.

However, local green group Friends of the Earth does not think these new guidelines have any “teeth” in preventing an increase in light pollution in Hong Kong.

“If the industry could be trusted for moderation, we would not end up witnessing them outdoing each other in neon sign brightness for the past ten years,” said a spokesperson from the group.

The group has held tours to show people around areas most polluted by such signage. “We do the tour by demand. So far we’ve done it for more than 20 times,” said Hahn Chu, senior environmental affairs manager at Friends of the Earth.

This week on Future Cities, CNN’s Richard Quest explores how Hong Kong is tackling light pollution.

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Filed under: BusinessFuture Cities

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Luke

    That's a shame the video isn't available any longer? Is there a technical problem or was it removed for some reason?


    February 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm |

    well said.

    February 21, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  3. sameh

    Strangest way to the marriage application


    February 26, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  4. Bill Simpson

    Some German professor working in Boulder, Colorado discovered that light pollution prevents chemicals normally found in dark skies, from destroying air pollution generated during the day. REALLY, I'm not smart enough to make a story like that up. You know how good the Germans are at chemistry. I think he is working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA. So light pollution poisons your lungs too. Even NASA keeps their rocket testing stands lit up all night in their Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. It interferes with telescope use miles away inside the vacant acoustic easement which would otherwise be pitch black. They must be afraid of terrorist attack, even though the place is full of US Navy SEALS who use it for river / swamp warfare training. I think some of the new SEALS movie was filmed in there. They have the latest night vision equipment. Google Stennis Space Center to see it. You spent billions on building it to beat Russians to the Moon. Now we have to pay them for a ride to our own space station. Washington at work.

    February 28, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  5. Waldiney

    Can I just say what a relief to find somoebdy who truly knows what they're talking about on the net. You certainly understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people have to read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised you're not more popular since you most certainly have the gift.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:21 am |
  6. red bottom

    Hi to every , since I am really eager of reading this webpage? post to be updated regularly. It includes fastidious data. red bottom

    August 17, 2012 at 2:19 am |

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