Many benefits to making S'pore less bright

Singapore has been found to be the most light-polluted country on earth, with skies so bright that the eye cannot fully dark-adapt to night vision.

Singapore is also No. 1 in the world for the prevalence of childhood myopia, as well as being one of the most sleep-deprived populations.

Is the lack of opportunity for our eyes to experience full dark-adaptation regularly linked to myopia?

Does the light pollution we experience here affect our sleep?

Comprehensive and bright lighting has been a critical contributor to our status as one of the safest countries in the world. But have we overdone it?

The distance between lamp posts here can be as close as 15m.

Perhaps the authorities could consider a longer distance between new lamp posts.

For existing ones, smarter switching can be implemented so that street lights can be switched on and off in rotation.

The brightness level can also be reduced by up to 50 per cent.

The brightness of our streets will continue to be adequate.

It is also unlikely to cause material changes in crime rate.

The current bill for lighting up public areas must be huge.

My proposed changes would surely result in huge savings for electricity bills, maintenance costs and replacement costs.

The need for less electricity would also result in a measurable reduction in the amount of greenhouse gases generated.

There are non-quantifiable health benefits too.

I also suggest that the Government designate a no-lights zone, where people can go to enjoy true dark nights.

The power of imagination ignited by the sky is unimaginable, especially for children.

Let our children have a sanctuary to enjoy the night sky filled with bright stars, and let their imaginations run wild.

Ben Chen Bin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2016, with the headline 'Many benefits to making S'pore less bright'. Print Edition | Subscribe