MOSCOW, March 24 (RIA Novosti) – Illumination of 90 iconic landmarks in Moscow was switched off for an hour on Saturday night as part of a global environmental action, allowing the Russian capital to save 5 megawatts of electric power, a city government official said.
Moscow joined thousands of cities and towns across more than 150 countries to turn off their lights during the “Earth Hour” in a symbolic show of support for the environment.
“Money-wise, the saved sum was very small [about 26,000 rubles or $900], because we use advanced energy-saving technologies to illuminate landmark buildings in Moscow,” said Pavel Livinsky, the head of the Moscow city fuel and energy department.
“The lights went off just symbolically to call the attention of Muscovites to environmental problems and energy saving,” the official added.
A crowd of about 200 people gathered in Red Square as the Kremlin, the St. Basil’s Cathedral, the GUM store, the All-Russian Exhibition Center, the Pushkin Library and other prominent buildings plunged into darkness at 8:30 pm local time.
The Moscow authorities are yet to calculate the number of households that joined the action by switching off the lights for 60 minutes.
According to official statistics, about 16 million Russians took part in the Earth Hour action in 2012.
Earth Hour is a worldwide event organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and held towards the end of March annually, encouraging households and businesses to turn off their lights for one hour to raise awareness about the need to take action on climate change.
The event first took place in 2007, when 2.2 million residents of Sydney participated by turning off all non-essential lights.