Last updated at 18:20 BST, Wednesday, 03 April 2013

The world's brightest city

Summary

25 March 2013

A study this week has found that Hong Kong is one of the worst offenders in the world for light pollution. Parts of the territory have been registered as 1,200 times brighter than a normal dark sky. Researchers say light pollution can affect health.

Reporter:

Jennifer Pak

Hong Kong

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Report

This is the Central District and it's 11 o'clock at night time, but if I put on my sunglasses it wouldn't be too dark at all and that's because there are lights everywhere. There's a neon sign across the street at an old antique shop. It's closed but there are one, two, three signs lit up and it's the same thing all down the street.

Now, researchers say that these signs are contributing to what is known as light pollution - you can tell by looking up into the sky. Not a single star in sight. In fact, the sky is a light shade of grey because of the amount of light in this area. And this is affecting people's lives because above these businesses and signs are apartment blocks. So these neon lights are reflecting off of the windows and bouncing into people's homes.

Christine Siu lives near the area. She says sometimes the lights are so bright it makes it hard to fall asleep.

Well, researchers are asking businesses to dim their lights and to turn them off earlier in the evening. Except it's not going to be an easy thing to do. Hong Kong is a place where businesses can offer the same services or sell the same products side-by-side.

The only way they can distinguish themselves from their competitors are through these neon signs to grab customers' attention. The bigger, the brighter, the better. Hong Kong is known to be a place that never sleeps. Well, now it seems that's because they never allow the sky to go dark.

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Vocabulary

neon sign

a sign that contains gas that shines brightly

contributing to

adding to

to dim

to reduce the brightness

side-by-side

directly next to each other

distinguish

make themselves obviously different

competitors

businesses providing the same service

to grab

to attract

a place that never sleeps

a city where there is activity 24 hours a day

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