PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 July, 2012, 12:00am


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Send right message on sustainability

I refer to the report ('Race trashed over poor recycling', July 15) about the Club Crew World Championship dragon boat races. It brought to light the need for some changes in the management of events in Hong Kong, for the betterment of our community.

It was not the Philippine team who made a complaint to the organisers, but a 'collective' complaint by many of the participants, who came from a variety of countries with different economic backgrounds. They were dismayed to see a recycling management strategy was lacking at such a high-profile event.

This should be a wake-up call to the Tourism Board, the Mega Events Fund, any organisers planning future events, and sponsors, primarily those whose products create a significant amount of waste, in this case Bonaqua. The solutions are not hard to come by.

With 4,700 athletes, and what was claimed to be 380,000 spectators, on five hot days, the tourism board should be ashamed of itself for claiming that the two or three recycling bins it had at either end of the 500 metre course counted as recycling. The board relied on foreign workers, and the elderly waste management team, to sweat it out in the heat and pick up everyone's plastic.

These bottles, uncompressed when collected, meant the bags and bins were inefficiently filled with plastic and the air in the bottles, adding to the volume and mass of the waste management burden that the sponsors and the organisers put on this city.

As major sports and music events, trade shows and exhibitions all become proud to show off their sustainability efforts, it is surely time for the tourism board and Mega Events fund to institute a sustainability policy for all events they host and support.

The dragon boat championships can be seen as a turning point for these organisations and the necessary guidelines should be put in place. They should include the procurement of sustainable materials, recycling and proper disposal.

This would generate jobs, increase opportunities for makers of sustainable products, send a strong educational message, and show leadership.

This is the sort of attention and market leadership that can truly set brands apart from others, with our city being the benefactor along the way.

Doug Woodring, Ocean Recovery Alliance

Give C.Y.'s government a chance

The pan-democrats condemned Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying for asking lawmakers to give priority to his bill for restructuring the government.

He was criticised for harming the public interest on the grounds that other important bills needed to be discussed.

However, it has to be pointed out that those bills were delayed because of the filibuster in May adopted by some legislators.

The government revamp is intended to solve some of the problems that Hong Kong has suffered from in recent years. The new government should now be given the chance to implement its proposed policies, such as devoting more land to private and public housing.

More importantly, a review of the new structure must be put in place. Some people said it was unfair to criticise the new administration before it had been given the chance to show what it could do.

Many Hongkongers want to see us progress towards democracy, which is why they joint the annual June 4 vigil and July 1 march. But it will not happen overnight.

I understand the pan-democrats' refusal to accept the existing government as legitimate, but this does not mean that we need to oppose all its proposals.

Louisa Chan, Kennedy Town

Constructive criticism worthwhile

I write, as an octogenarian who wants a better world for his grandchildren, to appeal to all of us to use our common sense to act for the common good.

I am not intending to praise or criticise our chief executive. But he has shown that, like the rest of us, he is human and is not perfect.

People need to think about the election manifesto and public pronouncements of Leung Chun-ying and ask whether or not they support it.

Then they should make their views known, in a clear way, to their elected officials.

Also, we should be trying to help him fulfil his promises rather than obstructing him.

It is common sense to hold our chief executive and elected legislators accountable to us for what they do and fail to do. This is acting for the common good of Hong Kong.

It is not acting for the common good when elected officials use questionable tactics and antics to be obstructive, instead of constructive, towards Mr Leung. We do not want our government to be as gridlocked as it is in the United States.

We need to try to solve Hong Kong's problems and we can do this by writing to our elected officials and to the media.

We can show those who are responsible for running this country that democracy and the rule of law work.

Liu Meung-ta, Pok Fu Lam

Tragic side to bustling metropolis

Hong Kong is often praised for being a cosmopolitan city with plenty of opportunities, but it has serious social problems.

Teenagers in our society are very vulnerable and as a pre-university student it saddens me to learn that more people in my age group are resorting to suicide.

Of course, they are not the only victims, as their act inflicts unbearable pain on their loved ones.

Some youngsters take this decision because they cannot cope with the academic pressure and feel they have no other option.

I wish youngsters could adopt a different perspective, and when they face adversity decide it is important never to give up.

I realise many adults have to work long hours in Hong Kong. But this means that they spend hardly any time with their children and may not notice changes in behaviour. They need to allocate some time, even if it is only a few minutes every night.

Kyle Wong, Sha Tin

Buskers get short shrift in the East

Your editorial ('Buskers have the right to be heard', July 15) was timely and would be welcomed by the organisation Buskers of the World.

I'm a retired physician from the US and part-time busker, and agree that 'if Hong Kong is to approach the cultural heights of London, New York or Paris... those with an artistic flair have to be given the widest possible public space to show and refine their talents'.

I've played in many streets around the world, including Hong Kong and the mainland. Some people busk for money; I do it because I enjoy it.

Through my busking I have met a number of new friends. For example, I was invited to a young couple's wedding to play while they exchanged their rings, and was invited to dinner with a newly met friend.

In the West, buskers are respected, but in the East, particularly in China, they are being looked down on, and considered to be 'culture beggars'.

Lastly, I don't think a licence is such a good idea for buskers. To me, busking is a right, just like freedom of speech and I do not need a licence.

John C. M. Lee, Siu Sai Wan

Reaction of police was excessive

It was wrong of the police to use pepper spray on protesters who gathered in Wan Chai during President Hu Jintao's visit to Hong Kong.

I know of a member of the pressure group Scholarism, comprising secondary students, who was pepper sprayed even though she was only standing on the outskirts of the crowd of protesters. Also, the protesters were behind two-metre-high barriers filled with water, so they did not pose a threat.

This runs counter to the perceived role of the Hong Kong Police Force, which is to protect members of the public even when they are protesting. Officers are armed and well trained. How can a secondary school student be seen as a threat?

Many people commented that the police over-reacted. I think their actions were a deliberate attempt to keep the crowd in an area with limited space. President Hu was given too much protection, while Hongkongers' right to protest peacefully was infringed.

The police abused their power and I wonder what their next tactic will be. Next time, instead of pepper spray, will it be tear gas or water cannon?

The conflicts could have been avoided if police had opened an area for protesters nearer the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

April Leung, Tai Po