Eco illumination against light pollution
Protection of the sky. After years in which it seemed that one exclusivity of Lastovo - its starry sky, with its minimal light pollution, would be lost forever, finally good news! The old public lights have been replaced with new ones which significantly reduce light pollution. The old ones have been removed and 235 new lights have been put up throughout the whole island.
The island of Lastovo and the archipelago around it, immersed in the sea, far away from the mainland and all its possible pollution including pollution from lighting, provides an impressive experience. Anyone who has been here will testify that nowhere else they have seen such a night sky so speckled with stars. Millions of stars... leaving the observer breathless. This profound impression was confirmed in 2008 by Slovenian astrophotographers Mikuz Herman and Andrej Mohar. They even declared that the location of Lastovo probably makes it the best sky in Europe and therefore suitable for erecting telescopes and observation points.
Astronomers from Višnjan, led by the well-known public figure Korado Korlević later visited the island several times, receiving approval from the Ministry of Culture and Lastovo Archipelago Nature Park, they carried out border measurements of the magnitude of the sky and identified the light sources. Unfortunately, each of their visits brought more doubt and fear - because the glow in the night sky was growing. This was especially visible during their visit just before New Years 2009 - most probably due to the Parish Church of St. Cosmas and Damian and other buildings being lit up with powerful floodlights. It was a real shock.
Ecological public lighting. However, these problems have now been solved. We have learned from the deputy mayor of the Lastovo Municipality Ivan Čihoratić that a total of 235 lamps whose beams shine solely towards the ground have been put up. The light dispersion is minimal and the old 250 candle strength bulbs have been replaced with those of 70 candles, saving more than 50%. The investment is worth 776,000 KN. Half of that sum came from the Environmental Protection Fund and the other half from the Lastovo Municipality. The project was planned for free by experts from Philips. The works were carried out by workers from the company Unelpo Ltd from Metković. Electrical energy is being saved and more importantly, the night sky is protected from light pollution.
Great possibilities. Chances exists that Lastovo, along with its Nature Park, could also become a European park of the starry skies e.g. a European Astronomy Camp. This could be a really exclusive status which provides great opportunities. "We are trying to explain to everyone how important it is to keep such a night sky as a development resource" says Korado Korlević.