By: Domestic Political Correspondent Heo Seo-ha
HWAGANG: The Chamber of Deputies has just passed legislation to regulate light pollution, mandating low light and shielded outdoor light fixtures and curbing the use of lights from 1:00 to 5:30 in the morning. The bill passed with an unexpectedly large majority as some Conservatives joined in with the governing coalition to ensure its passage, likely swayed by Celestine interest groups.
Celestialism and Celestine rites were at the center of the debate, as the fundamentally astronomical religion faced difficulties as the night sky disappeared for more and more Haesanites. Geographically controlled surveys of the Haesanite population found that only a third of Haesanites, and only 10% of those living in the south or southwest of the nation, could spot 5 or more stars in their night sky. For those in Suyang, over a one hour observation period, airplanes outnumbered stars by 8:1 — if any stars were visible at all. It is believed that the new legislation, which curbs late night light usage and seeks to limit the “Sky Glow” that is present during the late night hours across much of southern Haesan, will help to bring the night skies, and historic traditions, back to Haesan.
Free Democrats have been the loudest opponents of this bill, saying that the curfew hours would constrain economic freedom, but Hwang’s Moderates attempted to assuage economic concerns by referencing the energy savings companies would be afforded by keeping to the new rules. Restriction of nightlife was another point of contention, but counterarguments were made about the potential emergence of new tourism opportunities around the newly possible stargazing. Some Conservatives and One Haesan members were concerned about potential increases in crime as a result of decreased street lighting, but a generally agreeable compromise was reached regarding the wattage of city-constructed light fixtures.
The Hwang administration has focused heavily on conservation initiatives, especially those related to marine conservation and atmospheric pollution, in terms of rebranding Haesan’s economic successes as “sustainable capitalism”. That push comes as reports have indicated that Haesan is considering developing deeper economic ties with left-of-center governments, especially in Lauchenoiria and Milintica, in the hopes of building a more cohesive international coalition against Xiomeran aggression. Efforts to demonstrate that Haesan is a responsible international partner on environmental conservation and other multi-national issues have been a consistent focus of the administration, which remains popular after a smooth recovery from a Xiomera-induced investor panic.
The legislation will go into effect on 1 January, 2025, giving businesses a year to react and make any necessary changes.