‘Knight of the night’ Canton Uri wins prize for fighting light pollution

According to the Swiss environment ministry, less than one-fifth of Switzerland is truly dark at night. 

(Keystone)

Switzerland’s canton Uri has won the title of “Knight of the Night” for reducing light pollution in the tourist region of Andermatt.   

The award is bestowed by the non-profit organisation Dark Sky Switzerland.

In collaboration with universities and specialists, canton Uri, located in central Switzerland, developed an optical system to measure the power of light emissions. They also set fixed limits for light emissions, and if these limits are surpassed, the environment ministry can intervene.

The canton also specifically set up guidelines so that the lighting of a luxury hotel complex in Andermatt would not be too bright, Dark Sky Switzerland said in a statement on Friday. It said the region's monitoring efforts set a good example for future projects.

Dark Sky Switzerland has been campaigning for 20 years to reduce light pollution. It is a non-profit organisation that helps implement solutions to reduce the presence of artificial light in the night sky, and is a chapter of the International Dark Sky Association.

In Switzerland, light emissions have increased by about 70% since the 1990s. Too-brightly lit night skies can have a detrimental effect on ecosystems, and on the biological functions of plants and animals – including humans.

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swissinfo.ch and agencies



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