February 21st, 2012
09:20 AM GMT
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.
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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