Let's tone down those lights

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 December, 2011, 12:00am


People associate the Christmas holiday season with gifts and pretty decorations. Yet we should think twice before we admire the colourful Christmas lights.

All those seasonal lights that bedeck buildings across the city add a great deal to light pollution. Such showy displays are a side effect of economic and industrial prosperity. But they don't come without a price.

Commercial lights obscure the stars in the night sky and disrupt local ecosystems. They can also cause great discomfort and adverse health effects to city dwellers.

The government should look into the problem of light pollution and take necessary steps to ensure that commercial ventures do not go overboard with their lighting. We need to impose stricter rules to limit the level of light pollution. We don't need eye-catching displays to celebrate the spirit of Christmas.

Ma Sakina Cassin, Pooi To Middle School

From the Editor

Thank you for your very interesting letter. Hong Kong is famous for its festive decorations throughout the year. Tourists are amazed by the illuminated displays covering our skyscrapers - and they are amazing. But they are also extremely wasteful.

Not only do such decorations pollute the night sky with light, they use up a lot of electricity. Think about it: all those huge buildings covered in light tubes for weeks before Christmas, which then get changed to display Kung Hei Fat Choi for weeks leading up to Lunar New Year. Add to that the nightly light show, and the Harbour front becomes responsible for a whole lot of carbon emissions.

We can speak out against this overuse of power. We can sign up to take part in Earth Hour every March. We can remember to switch off lights when we're not in a room.

We may not immediately be able to persuade the government and the tourism board that such extravagant decorations are a bad idea, but if we prove that we ourselves are taking a stance and reducing our own electricity consumption, maybe they'll get the message.

Karly, Deputy Editor