PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 March, 2008, 12:00am

Malls should stop using plastic utensils

The Environmental Protection Department's (EPD) view - that to have sustainable waste management, you cannot focus on a single issue - is correct.

They should, therefore, move on from plastic bags and strongly consider the large amounts of plastic refuse generated, on a daily basis, by the food courts in our large shopping malls.

These food courts have a common business model whereby fewer people are employed to wash utensils. Instead, plastic plates, bowls, forks and cups are disposed of by customers.

Imagine how much less we would be producing if these businesses were required to use reusable utensils. It would mean less refuse being sent to the landfills. A case in point is the cooked food section at the 360 supermarket in the Elements mall above Kowloon Station.

It is ironic that the management of 360 claims to be environmentally oriented (from notices on its premises), with recycling bins even placed in the supermarket.

Just metres away a food stall is selling noodles to customers, yet using plastic utensils that are thrown away.

Something can and should be done about this. As I said, the EPD should move on from plastic bags and not see its policy on bags as the single most important issue in its policy on sustainable waste management.

Mark Chan, Tsing Yi

Unconvincing performance

I was interested to read the article about Leonardo DiCaprio and his 'award winning environmental documentary The 11th Hour' ('Activist star warns of a titanic ending if world doesn't act', March 24).

How wonderful it is to see yet another celebrity get on the environmental activities bandwagon (and it's only taken 12 years for him to get to this stage - having been inspired by Al Gore when he met him in 1996).

Did he then get back on his private jet, leaving an even bigger carbon footprint on our environment - or did he fly economy like the rest of us?

Meanwhile, HSBC is encouraging the public to spend more, using the new 'Green [credit] Card'.

So Hong Kong people become even bigger consumers, the bank donates to the University of Hong Kong's Green Roof for Schools Programme and Hong Kong's landfills continue to overflow with packaging and more unwanted goods.

Would it not be more ideal for HSBC to reward the recyclers?

Toni McNickle, Mid-Levels

Shoppers need accurate labels

Dairy Farm's side-stepping concerning Wellcome supermarket's inaccurate food labelling is unsatisfactory ('Strict testing backs labelling', March 10). Despite the PR spin saying that 'testing of First Choice products is conducted by an independent, internationally certified laboratory', Dairy Farm - replying to my letter ('Apt reminder on labelling', February 25) - has failed to admit to and address the fact that its nutrition labelling is incorrect.

The company states that 'tuna is a natural product with natural variations'. However, no matter what natural variations are in tuna, they cannot account for the salt content of 'tuna in spring water' being significantly higher than 'tuna in brine'.

In Australia there are similar generic product lines of canned tuna available at Coles and Woolworths supermarkets.

The Australian products indicate sodium content per 100g of 'tuna in spring water' and 'tuna in brine' as 375mg and 500mg respectively, which appears more realistic than Wellcome's First Choice tuna which states 531mg and 319mg, respectively.

Incorrect food labelling of core nutrients should be a cause for public concern for various groups, including, for example, consumers who have hypertension or other medical conditions.

Furthermore, as a matter of public interest, what action will the Centre for Food Safety and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department take in the light of these concerns?

Last year's fiasco with ParknShop 'selling oilfish labelled as cod' ('ParknShop fined over oilfish scandal', December 18), remains fresh in every shopper's thoughts.

All supermarkets and manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure their food labels are accurate and not misleading.

If supermarkets and manufacturers produce inaccurate food labels, they should acknowledge their mistakes and take steps to remedy the situation as soon as possible.

Dairy Farm's side-stepping of this issue does little for consumer confidence.

Will Lai, New South Wales, Australia

Immigration rule flouted

Having read Aaron Lee's letter on the Race Discrimination Bill ('Locals still get a raw deal', March 22), I refer to a rule of the Hong Kong Immigration Department that requires, 'a letter, with supporting proof from the employer, stating the reason why the post cannot be filled locally'.

How is it possible to refuse a similarly qualified local for the same job yet hire an expatriate on double the remuneration, particularly when collective rather than individually negotiated contract terms apply?

Would the Immigration Department care to comment?

Albert Leung Kwok-yuen, Lantau

Young people in HK are so lucky

I read an article about some schoolchildren in the Indian capital, New Delhi, who go to school so they can get a free school lunch.

This meagre meal is a luxury for them.

Young people in Hong Kong should be thankful for what they have got.

We should feel lucky that we were born here and not in an underdeveloped country where the living standard is low. We have enough to eat and get a good education.

I think Hong Kong's youngsters should think more about the plight of many children in third world countries: about the children who are forced to become soldiers, servants or do other low-paid jobs; and those who are forced into prostitution.

They are at risk of contracting Aids and other diseases.

In many cases, the hospitals and other medical services are inadequate or non-existent.

We should all support those organisations that try to help these young people, such as the Red Cross and Unicef, the UN Children's Fund.

Chan Yuen-ying, Kowloon Tong

Power corrupts

I was amazed by the scandal that forced Eliot Spitzer to resign as New York's governor.

Here was a man who enforced discipline throughout Wall Street but lacked his own personal discipline.

However, I do not believe he is alone in this regard.

I am sure there are many other people with money and power who have done similar things.

There is a price for everything and I guess we live in a society that can buy anybody or anything if the price is right.

However, even the most influential people must realise that they cannot remain in power if they lose their self-discipline, in the way that Mr Spitzer did.

Given what has transpired, Mr Spitzer will be seen by many as a hypocrite.

I wonder who will be the next powerful person to be caught out.

Rishi Teckchandani, Los Angeles