Environmental Protection of Darkness

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“We are the power of darkness. Brightness is the evil power of light pollution. The dark power hits back.” These are not lines from the video game, League of Dark. This is the real dark power, as expressed by the founder of the Taiwan Dark-Sky Preservation Alliance, Chih-An Liu.
The power of darkness comes from the Taiwan Dark-Sky Preservation Alliance and Qing Jing Official Travel Guide. Together, they endeavor to promote the stargazing quality of Hehuanshan. As a B&B host in the Qing Jing colony and an astronomy lover, Li Xue-zheng has explained that many star chasers in Southeast Asia love to take photos and gaze at the stars on Hehuanshan. Only a three to four-hour drive from the airport, at an elevation of 3,000 meters, Hehuanshan has a pure and clean night sky. “Hehuanshan is excellent, even better than Ishigaki Island, Japan, and Korea. Because of the latitude and elevation, both the northern and southern hemisphere can be viewed.”
With the hard work and coordination of the Taiwan Dark-Sky Preservation Alliance and Qing Jing Official Travel Guide, the large streetlamps at Yuanfeng Parking Lot on Provincial Highway 14A have been removed. They also asked for the cooperation of businesses in the Qing Jing colony to reduce the lights that shine directly toward the sky. In August 2019, the area from Yuanfeng on Provincial Highway 14A upward to Xiaofengkou became certified as a silver-level dark-sky park by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). IDA is an international non-profit organization headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, U.S. that aims to protect darkness in the night sky. Therefore, the management of outdoor lighting at night is an important job.
They are still working hard to maintain the quality of the dark park and keep helping local B&Bs to change and reduce lights. For example, lampshades have been added to streetlamps. The upper parts of the lampshades of the garden lamps are painted to avoid light from directly shining to the sky. Glass lampshades can also be covered with tin foil to avoid light from dispersing. Without costing too much, these can still meet the pedestrians’ need with regard to night activities. At the same time, businesses are also persuaded to turn off large outdoor advertising lights at 9PM.
On the day we interviewed Mr. Liu, he went directly to Hehuanshan from his home in Keelung at 5AM, visiting the businesses and having a meeting with the partners. It was cold in Hehuanshan. He kept driving onward to the mountain with his wife and did tests with a SQM device. The result of 21.2 at Yuanfeng was pretty good. Mr. Liu said the stargazing quality of Hehuanshan is at the silver level but is getting close to gold level. With the continued efforts of Qing Jing colony, Wushe, and Puli, it may soon be upgraded to the gold-level dark-sky quality.