Eyes on PolyU

Charter on External Lighting takes effect and PolyU pledges its support

Charter on External Lighting Poster

Hong Kong owns a spectacular night scene that magnifies its metropolitan authenticity. It is not difficult to find various kinds of external lighting installations in the territory which are lighted up after nightfall. Nevertheless, citizens are getting more and more concerned of having ‘excessive external lighting’ which brings about light nuisance to residents nearby.

Metropolises around the world deal with external lighting issues differently. Asian cities like Tokyo and Singapore do not adopt any mandatory regulation over the management of external lighting, whilst European counterparts like London and Frankfurt have put in place legislation or mandatory requirements to regulate light nuisance caused by external lighting, underpinned by variances in the depth, scope and technical parameters to suit their local needs.

The Hong Kong S.A.R. Government formed the Task Force on External Lighting in 2011 to investigate into possible strategies and appropriate measures for tackling light nuisance and energy wastage problems caused by external lighting, having regard to international experience and practices. A conclusion with an introduction of a switch-off requirement was officially enforced in January 2016, being the first-ever Charter on External Lighting. As announced in the Signing Ceremony held on 1 April 2016, over 4,000 signatories across different sectors pledged to switch off external lighting installations with decorative, promotional or advertising purposes which affect the outdoor environment during the preset times from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. the following day. PolyU has also signed this Charter to show its support and has pledged to switch off non-essential external lighting installations on campus, student halls and other concerned premises during the preset times.

Charter on External Lighting Sticker

This voluntary Charter scheme emphasizes the genuine voluntary switch-off action whilst future legislation is not ruled out. It is hoped that the Charter will help in building awareness and consensus among the business community and the public, and to achieve behavioral changes across the community progressively.

Light nuisance does not merely bring discomfort to residents nearby and prevent them from enjoying a proper sleeping environment. It also causes energy wastage due to excessive light intensity and long operating hours. In the worst scenario, it may impact the physiological cycles and the movement of animals. It’s time to show our concern and be more responsible to our society and our Earth.

Further reading on the Charter on External Lighting can be found at http://www.enb.gov.hk/external_lighting/