Asia-Pacific region actively joins "Earth Hour" campaign

11:11, March 28, 2010      

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People from a number of countries and regions in Asia-Pacific on Saturday joined this year 's Earth Hour global campaign by shutting off their lights for an hour to highlight a commitment to tackling climate change.

In New Zealand, at 8:30 p.m. local time Saturday (0645 GMT), the diesel generators supplying electricity to the Chatham Islands, 800 km off the coast of New Zealand, were switched off, as the first of 125 countries and territories set in motion a 24-hour relay of hope and positive action on climate change.

Auckland's iconic Sky Tower was the centerpiece of positive action on climate change, while The Beehive and Parliament Buildings of Wellington plunged into darkness, reflecting the resolve of the world's southernmost capital city to be part of a global journey to a climate solution. About 50 councils, cities and towns across New Zealand, from Queenstown to Whangarei, are switching off.

Australia's Sydney has joined 4,000 cities plunged into darkness on Saturday night as hundreds of millions of people around the world turned off their lights for Earth Hour.

At 8:30 p.m. local time lights on the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and in homes and businesses across the city were switched off in an effort to reduce the earth's carbon footprint and raise awareness about climate change.

"From Brazil to America, to Canada, all the way down to Australia, Japan and India - it's a really diverse set of countries taking part this year," Earth Hour executive director Andy Ridley said.

"Today's personal communication has unprecedented reach and influence, enabling citizens to take ownership of Earth Hour and spread it's message of hope and action to great effect without any limitation," he told Xinhua.

This year, a record-breaking 126 countries are taking part in the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) initiative, which started in 2007 in Sydney with approximately 2.2 million people and 2,100 businesses taking part in.

The usually brightly illuminated iconic landmark Tokyo Tower were thrown into darkness at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and the southwestern Japanese port city of Hiroshima is also an active participant, where the Hiroshima Peace Memorial went dark at the same time.

South Korea joined the global Earth Hour wave on Saturday with municipal governments, corporations, retailers and households voluntarily taking part in the event by turning off non-essential lights.

The lights of major buildings in Seoul, including the Main Government Building, the City Hall, the Samsung Town, and such landmarks as the Seoul Tower and the 63 City, participated in the event, were turned off for an hour.

Some 50 cities in South Korea agreed to join the campaign, Project Executive Manager Lee Hee-song told Xinhua, a sharply increase from the previous year when only Seoul and Changwon took part in.

Also the Filipinos in 1,041 cities and towns turned off their lights at 8:30 p.m. Saturday to participate in the Earth Hour. About 15 million Filipinos have pledged to switch off the lights at homes, offices and businesses for an hour this year.

In Metro Manila, with the count-down coming to the end, lights at the Mall of Asia, a landmark building, were switched off at 8: 30 p.m. Customers went out to watch performances staged at a seaside open ground.

Hong Kong, known for its night scenes, switched off light of its skyscrapers for one hour on Saturday, with more than 2,500 companies and buildings joining the global campaign.

Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor went dim at 8:30 p.m. when neon signs and lights of buildings started to black out. Symphony of Lights show in the Victoria Harbor was also suspended.

The city landmarks including International Finance Center and Tsing Ma Bridge joined over 2,500 companies and buildings, over 230 schools and all universities, as well as thousands of people across the city to mark the Earth Hour.

In Singapore from 8: 30 p.m. to 9: 30 p.m., iconic buildings such as the Merlion statue, the Singapore Flyer observation wheel, Changi Airport, shopping malls along the Orchard Road, as well as bank towers at the central business district, switched off their non-essential lights.

Meanwhile, more cities have joined Jakarta this year to participate the global Earth Hour initiative on Saturday. More than 200 state and private offices and five city landmarks in Jakarta turned off their lights for an hour Saturday.

Source: Xinhua
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