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June 28, 2013

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City to set standard for neon displays

A COMPULSORY standard on the maximum degree of brightness allowed on LED screens at public venues will be implemented in September to control light pollution, the city's quality watchdog said yesterday.

The standard will regulate permitted light and measuring methods, targeting both LED screens installed outdoors and indoors, based on their locations and sizes.

The new standard is expected to be welcome by residents living in the luminous glare as a large number of LED screen users were found lighting extremely dazzling advertisements to attract customers, the Shanghai Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau said.

Lighting operators should modify or remove the lights if required, or face penalties for breaking the standard, bureau officials said.

Passing the buck

Regulations about light pollution lag far behind the development of commercial facilities. The city has a local lighting norm issued in 2004, but it has no legal effect, meaning violators don't face any punishment.

It does not include the brightness of LED screens, which were not widely in use at that time, nor does it specify which government watchdogs should take the responsibility of measuring lights, making residents hard to forward complaints as the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau and Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau passed the buck to each other.

Glowing LED screens are more common nowadays with the rapid development of commercial facilities.

Wang Xiaomei, a resident of Hongkou District, has struggled with light pollution for about a year after the opening of One Prime Plaza, a shopping mall next to her residential complex. Huge LED screen changed colors from red to blue and sprayed welcome messages.

Wang said the bed rooms and sitting room were lit bright like daytime from 5:30pm to 10pm every day.

"I have no way but to draw curtains in deep color all the time. In summer, it can become very muggy," Wang said. She said the leaves of the plant on the balcony were also turning yellow at the side, triggering fears that long time exposure to the glowing lights could harm her health.


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