Should supermarkets replace wet markets?

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 January, 2005, 12:00am

Pulcheria Chung, 18 St Mary's Canossian College

No. Wet markets give us freedom of choice, which is one of our basic rights. They comprise small stalls selling similar food. This creates healthy competition as owners reduce prices to maximise profits.

If they were replaced, one large supermarket could dominate a housing estate. As people would not want to travel long distances to get groceries, they would be forced to accept supermarket prices.

This could result in a monopoly, which goes against the free-market concept.

Also if wet markets were replaced, a lot of people would lose their jobs. Some people complain that wet markets are dirty. But the hygiene conditions have been improving. Health authorities have urged stall owners to be more aware of food safety and hygiene and to clean their premises several times a day.

Wet markets are not only a meeting place for the local community; they are part of Hong Kong's unique character. They should be promoted as a new type of shopping experience among tourists, like the fish market in Sydney, Australia.

Oliver Kwan, 17 Delia School of Canada

I think it's time wet markets were closed.

Supermarkets are superior in almost every aspect, but most importantly, they're cleaner than wet markets.

Food has to be kept in hygienic conditions. I doubt that a building which smells like a sewer could possibly satisfy those conditions.

Some argue that wet markets represent small, family-run businesses as opposed to giant, impersonal corporations.

Although I agree with them, it is simply too hard to impose any sort of standards upon so many stalls.

It would take up too much time and manpower. Those same standards can be imposed within weeks in a major corporation.

I've been to a wet market, and it is an experience I am determined to avoid in the future.

I'm sure that the advantage of fresher, cheaper food outweighs the bacteria you get with every purchase from the wet market.

In a city like Hong Kong, which has seen the spread of deadly diseases such as Sars and bird flu, we should be very careful.