PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 March, 2008, 12:00am

How can we better protect our rivers and streams?

Many streams running through developed areas on Hong Kong Island are polluted due to illegal discharges or poor maintenance of drains.

It is always surprising to me that little action seems to be taken about cases of obvious pollution of streams in government-maintained areas.

Even five years after the terrible experience of Sars in 2003, some of the lessons about environmental hygiene do not seem to have been learned.

For example, the stream running through Glenealy and streams in the Hong Kong Cemetery are polluted. They are foul-smelling and discoloured, probably caused by illegal discharges.

The Wong Chuk Hang nullah discharges into Aberdeen typhoon shelter, which has unsatisfactory water quality according to the Environmental Protection Department.

There is a plan to develop tourism in and around Aberdeen harbour, and improving the water quality should be a high priority.

One source of the pollution is the nullah with unsewered houses upstream in Wong Chuk Hang village.

These water courses discharge into the sea around Hong Kong Island and affect water quality.

Regular water sampling is required to help confirm the exact nature of the pollution and track changes in the water quality. I believe the government has the resources and good reason to handle this modest task.

I look forward to seeing the government start regular publishing of river water monitoring results from Hong Kong Island.

M. J. Wright, Ap Lei Chau

What do you think of the nude photos scandal?

When news of this matter first appeared in the media, I did not think it would be very interesting - another star with compromising pictures, just business as usual in the United States.

However, watching the force with which this scandal shocked the community and the extraordinary measures taken by police to contain it, I soon gained an entirely new appreciation of how our two continents differ when it comes to indecent material and the impact that publishing such material can have on those in question.

The handling of the situation by the police seemed draconian to me and highly disturbing at times from a civil rights perspective. Moreover, these photos were not handed over voluntarily.

They were taken without the owner's consent. Someone's private life was exposed. Perhaps I am just desensitised but, short of illegality, I see no place for the public to condemn someone for having sexual relations behind closed doors. It just truly isn't our business.

Now that Edison Chen Koon-hei has given up his career in the Hong Kong entertainment industry, he should perhaps consider returning to North America knowing that, in the west, this isn't the material that breaks stars.

Rather, it is the injection of popularity that makes stars. Tommy Lee, Pamela Anderson and Paris Hilton have all reaped very large rewards for exposing their sordid affairs on camera.

It's another telling cultural difference, perhaps - one I'm not sure that I'm happy to report.

Cameron MacDonald, Mid-Levels

Should Discovery Bay's housing density increase?

There is 2 million sq ft of land available for development under the existing plot ratio in Discovery Bay ('Garden suburb could get a lot more crowded', March 6).

The report said an expert had said 'Discovery Bay residents would still enjoy low-density living, even if a higher plot ratio was approved. 'Otherwise, it will be a waste of land resources'.' He said it was sensible for the developer to slightly increase the density.

Developers will always try every means to maximise their gains. However, when they do this, they, in effect, ignore the interests of other stakeholders and the principles of sustainable development.

What is meant by a so-called 'waste of resources'? Does this mean that we have to build high-rises everywhere and that this is the most efficient way of using resources? The developers' only yardstick when it comes to deeming a project a success is money. If a project fails to make a substantial profit, then this is not seen as the best way to utilise resources.

However, Discovery Bay's developers are not considering the potential drawbacks of raising the plot ratio. It would cause disruption to the peaceful lifestyle of Discovery Bay. People live there because they can enjoy a better quality of life and more wide-open spaces than in urban areas. They do not want a congested and high-density development. If they are deprived of these advantages, why should they bother staying there and putting up with the long commute?

According to one resident, there are already many empty flats in Discovery Bay, so what is the point of boosting housing density? Surely, this would further depress property values there. I think the developers could find that this initiative backfires. They are not fooling anyone by saying this proposal is a more productive use of land resources

Chris Tse, Sha Tin