Review: A Comparative Study on Current Outdoor Lighting Policies in China and Korea: A Step toward a Sustainable Nighttime Environment

Sustainability 201911(14), 3989;


Light pollution is a serious environmental issue with many adverse effects on human health and the ecosystem as a whole. Accordingly, many countries have issued laws and regulations to limit the effects of artificial lighting at night (ALAN). The Republic of Korea and China are among the few countries that have drafted laws to curb light pollution. In the present study, we gathered data related to light pollution regulations and ordinances in both China and Korea. We then carried out a comparative analysis of the light pollution laws of both countries. We found that, although the two countries share a similar socio-economic background, they have different approaches to the issue of light pollution. The information provided in this study serves as a guideline to countries that wish to develop their own light pollution policies. In addition, the conclusions provided in our study offer potential improvements to local and national light pollution policies in both the Republic of Korea and China.


Light pollution is one of the most rapidly increasing forms of environmental degradation. There is increasing evidence that draws potential linkages between artificial light at night (ALAN) and certain human health conditions. For example, a study by Rybnikova et al. [1], based on World Bank databases, reported a statistically significant association between ALAN and prostate cancer incidence. A potential correlation between outdoor LAN and breast cancer incidence was also reported by Peter et al. [2]. In addition, ALAN has been linked to diabetes [3], fatigue, and depression [4]. In addition to the effects of ALAN on the well-being of humans, sky glow resulting from ALAN is a major interference to astronomical activities [5,6]. Furthermore, excessive and unnecessary ALAN is a key contributing factor to energy waste [7].

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