Together with the social psychologist Katharina Dinhof I visited the inhabitants of Hong Kong in their bedrooms and questioned them on the topic of light pollution and its effects on their sleeping habits.
The city is enveloped in a pink-orange haze that downright suppresses the darkness of the night. Hong Kong’s urban night sky is 100 to 1000 times brighter than the international brightness standard between 8.30 and 11:00PM, according to the Hong Kong Night Sky Brightness Monitoring Network. Hong Kong‘s night sky has been proven to be one of the brightest in the world and this is not without consequences. Light pollution has an impact not only on flora and fauna, but also on Hong Kong residents, especially on their sleep quality and well-being. Artificial light in the evening hours influences our internal clock, which in turn regulates organic processes such as hormone production and cell regulation. A disturbance of the day-night rhythm is associated with various physiological and psychological disorders, including depression, insomnia and cardiovascular diseases. Especially the blue, cold light from LED street lights suppresses the production of the hormone melatonin, which according to some studies, is “a compound that adjusts our biological clock and is known for its antioxidant and anti-cancerous properties.” To emphasize this effect I deliberately tinted the photos in harsh blue colors.
In total we conducted 6 interviews and additionally one researcher and lecturer at the Department of Physics at Hong Kong University.
By David Schermann