Chemical News

Saturday, October 6, 2007

MTR under fire over energy `Waste'

The energy used by advertisement light boxes at Mass Transit Railway stations is enough to light up 76,000 homes a night, an environmental group has found.

Green Sense said it checked 51 of the 53 MTR stations across the territory in July and found about 48,000 fluorescent tubes were used for more than 6,500 advertising boxes.

There were 35,000 fluorescent tubes in advertising light boxes that are about 3.7 meters in length, and 13,000 tubes in 1.2m boxes. A 3.7m light box is lit up by about 10 fluorescent tubes, while a 1.2m box is lit by four tubes, according to the group.

It also checked 29 Kowloon-Canton Railway stations and found 16,400 fluorescent tubes were used to light up advertising boxes.

Green Sense project officer Zara Lo Wing-chi noted that some advertisements at MTR stations are also heavily lit by stage lights.

"You can't find any mass transit system in the world that has so many advertising light boxes," she said. "There're even stage lights used at the stations."

Lo felt that having the advertising boxes at MTR stations switched on from 6am to 1am every day is wasteful as the energy consumption is enormous. The same amount of energy could be used to light up 76,000 homes a night, assuming that every family switches on two fluorescent tubes for six hours a day.

"Using fluorescent tubes is an energy-saving measure, but having them switched on for such long hours daily is not environmentally friendly."

Green Sense criticized MTR Corp (0066) for claiming to be the "greenest" among public transport companies, but the greenhouse gas emissions - from the generation of electricity for the advertising boxes - are unacceptable.

It suggested placing the advertisements on the platform screen doors so that fluorescent tubes are not needed as there is enough lighting on station platforms.

Lo also said television advertisements on station platforms are not environmentally friendly.

"These TV advertisements also consume quite a lot of electricity," she said. "We hope some of them can be switched off for a certain period of time every day."

A MTRC spokesman said the company will look into the possibility of using energy-saving fluorescent tubes for the advertising light boxes.

Source: Via Net