PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 February, 2008, 12:00am

What do you think of the incinerator plan?

The government plans to build an incinerator as a waste-burning power station ('Two sites proposed for incinerator', January 30).

The intention is to extend the life of landfill sites.

I can understand why residents and green groups have protested about the proposed sites in Tuen Mun and South Lantau.

The ideal location for something like this incinerator would be a barren area that is uninhabited. However, where are you going to find such a place in Hong Kong?

Some compromise has to be arrived at when choosing the site for this incinerator power plant, and the location chosen must serve the best interests of Hong Kong.

The plan to use an incinerator as a major waste-disposal mechanism must be coupled with a comprehensive waste-recycling strategy for the whole of Hong Kong. Nobody wants to deal with rubbish after they have thrown it in the bin.

The government must kick-start campaigns to explain, promote and educate citizens about waste disposal.

Hongkongers should be working in partnership with the government on this issue.

H.C. Bee, Ho Man Tin

At what age is it okay to leave children home alone?

Nowadays in Hong Kong, most people work very hard so they can earn a lot of money.

Many of these people are parents, and too many of these working parents think that it is OK to leave their children at home alone.

They just assume their children will be able to look after themselves. But when they do leave their children by themselves, accidents take place.

Young children just do not know how to look after themselves.

Even if there is no accident, if a child is left alone for long periods, they could suffer from feelings of neglect and this could stunt their psychological development.

It is the responsibility of parents to develop a strong relationship with their children. There needs to be better communication. They have to learn to talk to their children.

I am not saying young people should never be left home alone, but parents must wait until their son or daughter is 14.

Maureen Ma, Wong Tai Sin

Age should never be the criterion to decide whether it is suitable to leave a child home alone or not. There is one age that fits each child.

A young child may be able to look after himself, such as preparing a meal without any help, while a 12-year-old might have no ability to be independent.

Independence takes training and experience, and Hong Kong children get little opportunity to learn these independence skills.

I know some social workers focus on the negligence of parents and there have even been calls for laws that would punish parents who are neglectful in this way. However, I question whether such laws would actually work.

The best remedy for this problem of home-alone children is for parents to spend time with children. However, many parents just do not accept this argument and say they need to work.

In that case, at the very least, they could train the child to be more independent.

If the situation does not improve in Hong Kong, then I would say that even leaving a child alone at the age of 15 is too young.

Chiu Kung-chun, Tuen Mun

Is the sex education curriculum outdated?

The number of unmarried teenage mothers in Hong Kong has raised the issue of the importance of sex education in our schools.

Hong Kong is an open society and we enjoy freedom of speech. This means there are often open discussions of sex on television which are easily accessed by youngsters.

You also see indecent materials on the internet, which teenagers can easily download. Without proper guidance from parents and teachers, teens can develop misconceptions regarding sex and this can lead to underage sex and sex-related crimes.

To deal with this problem, young people must be given comprehensive sex education. Youngsters are naturally curious about sex, so schools should provide them with basic information about the subject, such as the physical changes during puberty, safe sex and more importantly the possible consequences of having sex.

There should be discussions held on the subject. But because of traditional Chinese thinking, sex is seen as a sensitive issue.

Teachers must be made to realise that it is no longer a taboo subject.

They must be given guidelines so they can instruct young people and provide them with adequate sex education.

We will not solve the current social problems, such as teen pregnancy, if we do not provide sex education to our teenagers.

Lau Man-yui, Shun Lee

Recent tragedies relating to teen pregnancies have shown that sex education in Hong Kong is inadequate.

In some schools teachers will not teach sex education, and this can prevent an adequate sex education programme being put on the school curriculum.

Students may get some sex education in biology class. However, that is confined to science students.

But schools are not solely to blame. You seldom see a television programme that teaches the positive value of sex. But on the rare occasions when there is such a programme, it will probably be shown at night.

Because of the problems I have described, teenagers have insufficient knowledge of sex.

They misunderstand the reality of sex. They think it is something that is fun and because they have not had proper education in this field, they do not even know about birth-control measures and may get pregnant.

We must adopt measures to deal with this problem.

Schools should introduce comprehensive sex education, and instil in teenagers positive values regarding sex. And more television programmes should focus on sex education.

Parents should also put an appropriate lock on their child's computer to prevent them from viewing indecent material.

The tragedies that have occurred should serve as a wake-up call.

Cristiano Shui, Yuen Long