“Light Pollution” is a form of environmental pollution in which excessive artificial outdoor lightings affect the natural environment. Light pollution in Hong Kong is very serious. The main reason behind that are the artificial outdoor lightings. As there are many buildings scattered in Hong Kong, artificial lighting is omnipresent. The severe light pollution reduces the number of stars that are visible in the sky. The HUSSAR Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, 20% of the total electrical consumption in Hong Kong was spent on lighting.
Since electrical production is widely garden as one of the major source of air pollutants, any misuse of electric lighting not serving its originally intended purposes means a huge waste of energy, and indirectly, generating air pollution. It is not uncommon to find poorly designed outdoor security light not using a lamp shade so that only a small fraction Of light generated is directed to the ground, with a majority Of light directed upwards towards the sky.
Not only does this light provide no useful illumination, it also becomes a source of pollution to our night sky.
IDA estimated that about LOS$2 billion, or equivalent to six million tons of coal, as spent in the US each year on wasteful lightings. Therefore light pollution not only means wasting energy and money, but also enhancing air pollution and global warming. Outdoor lighting is an indispensable element of modern civilized societies for safety, recreation, and decorating purposes. However, if the lightening system is poorly designed and reached a excessive level, it will lead to a huge waste Of energy and money.
It as well robs us Of our beautiful night sky. Light pollution is quickly becoming a severe environmental problem worldwide. The reduction in the number of star visible severely affects stargazing activities. With the subject of Astronomy soon to be included as part of the New Secondary School curriculum of Physics, we need our night sky now more than ever as a scientific teaching-aid for our next generation to educate them the science of the heavens.
However, on a night sky that is heavily polluted by artificial lights, only the brightest stars are visible and even the most common and the brightest star constellations can hardly be recognized. The starry night is quickly losing its status as an educational tool to link our next generation to the traditional legendary stories, and as a great object of imagination for our youngsters. The incredible starry night together with the stories behind the stars could soon disappear forever.
It could influence the entire ecological balance of the local living environment. Owing to abused lightings, normal activities and behaviors Of nocturnal animals could be disrupted as most living species depend on the daily light and dark cycles for their ways of life. A simple example is that billions of moths and other nocturnal insects are killed each year at lights, upsetting the ecological systems. Nocturnally migrating birds could also be disoriented and entrapped by lights at night.