THE E-MAIL FORUM
Q Should Hong Kong start burning waste again?
I believe that a state-of-the-art incinerator would be perfect for Hong Kong.
I am from Lewisham in London, a borough which invested in the southeast London combined heat and power plant (an incinerator), which is strongly supported by residents including environmental groups, and held up as a model for recycling waste.
The burning rubbish produces electricity for the national grid and magnets extract metal from the residue for recycling. The next phase of development is to use the heat for public housing.
I have read that burning paper to produce energy is the most effective way to recycle it. All of this is done with absolute minimal pollution, I am happy to say, right in my backyard.
I was astonished when I came to Hong Kong and discovered green groups were against incineration. Of course we don't want an old-style incinerator belching out smoke but surely they must be aware of the latest generation of plants?
M. Evans, Lantau
This is another example of a government that likes to implement a plan before explaining to the public. So far, the Environmental Protection Department has not provided any statistics or positive explanations of the incinerator plan to satisfy the concerns of Tuen Mun residents.
It is difficult to make people believe that the incinerator plan will do no harm at all. Is burning waste the best way to dispose of it? It may be the easiest way.
However, the emission of carcinogenic dioxins will inevitably be a threat to our health and the environment.
The most effective method to dispose of waste is recycling it into a useful product. Making good use of resources will eventually produce less waste. If waste can be reduced, why burn it?
Kanas Liu Kit-man, Tsuen Wan
This method of burning waste is harmful to the environment. If this method is so good, why did we stop using the incinerator in 1997?
Although landfills in Hong Kong will soon be full, what the government should do is to educate people about the problem of creating waste.
Lessons should be given to students and teach them about the 3Rs - recycle, reuse and reduce. Reducing waste is better than burning it.
Chung Ching-yee, Tsuen Wan
The incinerator should not operate again to burn waste.
Since 1997, the government has used landfills to dispose of waste. Incinerators are being considered again because the landfills will soon be full. But this will once again lead to air pollution. The residents living nearby are opposed to the incineration plan. Since the incinerator would emit fumes during its operation, it may possibly harm people's health.
Although landfills cause water pollution, the use of an incinerator cannot solve the long-term problems. I think the government should use other methods, such as recycling, to dispose of waste.
Chan Kong, Tsuen Wan
It is a sad thing to hear that the government is trying to resume incinerating waste. Not long ago, Hong Kong was covered by heavy smog and the government was trying to find ways to solve the pollution problems.
Solving the environmental problems in Hong Kong is crucial for our future success. Although building the incinerator is just a trial for innovative technology development, it will downgrade the government's credibility and may result in large-scale protests from residents. If the plan goes ahead, does it mean that technological development is more important than Hong Kong's future?
Simon Lee, Tsuen Wan
Q Is 2010 too long to wait for a food labelling law?
It is way too long. We need to have healthy and balanced diets, and we need proper information to buy healthy food.
In the past, we were not provided with details about calories, high calcium, low fat and other nutritional information now considered indispensable.
According to the Health, Welfare and Food Bureau, many countries already require mandatory nutrition labelling. Why then must Hong Kong wait until 2010 for a food labelling law?
Agnes Luk Wing-sze, Kowloon City
Q Should the Tourism Board promote Yuen Long and its crocodile?
The crocodile is a very ruthless animal, and it could be hazardous to human life. Since it appeared in Yuen Long, residents have been worried it might attack. I realise that the crocodile hunt is not an easy job and may take more time to succeed. However, the government should be more aggressive in the hunt.
I hope that John Lever, the Australian crocodile expert, can train more crocodile hunters before he leaves. The government should also hire professional mainland hunters as they are more familiar with this area. It is necessary to catch the croc.
If they can catch it, Yuen Long residents will feel safer and sleep better.
Vincent Sun, North Point
On other matters ...
I wish to bring your attention to a leakage of sewage from an outflow pipe on the hillside below the village houses 91-117 Tung Lo Wan Hill Road. It is possible that the leak is from a government sewage outflow or from a private septic tank.
This leak has been there for some weeks and is foul-smelling. It is a hygiene risk as well as being an erosion danger to the soil on the hillside.
Peter A. Crush, Sha Tin