PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 November, 2008, 12:00am

What do you think of the new town planning approach?

The government wants to develop three new towns in the northeast New Territories using the model of public-private partnerships ('Clean, green and friendly - new towns won't be modelled on the past', November 13).

The developments are aimed at housing communities of about 180,000 people and the main feature of these new towns will be the promotion of low-carbon communities. The government has proposed the treatment of sewage for reuse, recycling of rubbish, use of renewable energy and non-fossil-fuel-based transport.

These are great ideas, but will the government be able to implement them?

Can Hong Kong really produce green new towns?

On paper all these ideas sound sustainable and, in environmental terms, highly responsible.

However, we need the government to show how the kinds of technology it proposes can be implemented.

If the technology that is being proposed can reduce our society's carbon footprint, then why has it not already been implemented in Hong Kong?

Are these visions for the new towns just idealistic dreams?

The government has a duty to be truthful and not just come up with beautiful slogans that may mislead people.

Last year the idea was put forward for a 'zero-carbon park' at Wong Tai Sin. I can't help but wonder how it is possible to have a 'zero' carbon emission.

H. C. Bee, Kowloon Tong

What do you think of the drug abuse proposals?

Due to the increased incidence of illegal drug use, the taskforce on youth drug abuse has called for compulsory tests ('Support sought on drug testing', November 12).

The proposal aims to deal with shortcomings in the current drug laws. It could act as a deterrent and help young drug users rehabilitate by offering them treatment. I can see some of the advantages in this proposal.

It is difficult for police to act against suspected drug users in, for example, a disco, because the suspect can throw away the drugs before being arrested.

This means there is no evidence so a drug test cannot be conducted.

That would change if this proposal was implemented and it could act as a deterrent.

Young people could be treated and rehabilitated instead of prosecuted.

There are problems, however, with this measure. How do you define a suspected drug abuser?

Would that include adolescents fooling around on the street late at night?

It is difficult to identify a person who may be taking drugs just based on their appearance.

And if the test proved negative, would that person's human rights have been infringed?

I think there has to be a great deal more discussion of this proposal before the government agrees to implement it.

For me, education is still the key to trying to deal with the problem of increased drug abuse.

Schools and parents have to try harder to educate the next generation and make them aware of the risks involved when it comes to illegal drugs.

The media should also take responsibility for spreading the anti-drug message and making it clear to immature youngsters that there is nothing trendy about taking drugs.

Lau Kwok-piu, Kwun Tong

How can children be protected from obscene material on the internet?

Apart from installing some filter programmes in the computers, parents should co-operate with schools to protect children from obscene material on the internet.

I know there are many parents who do not know how to deal with these issues.

Some forbid their children from using a computer at home but this fails to deal with potential problems, as young people will find other ways to log onto a computer and can still be exposed to obscene material on the internet. I think schools should organise separate talks for parents and their children.

The students need to be taught what to do when they encounter obscene material online. Parents must realise that they have a responsibility to sit with their children and give them proper guidance about how to use the computer.

Parents and teachers need to act as role models for children. They must be willing to teach children to act responsibly when using computers and also protect them from exposure to indecent material.

Kathleen Ng Pik-yue, Diamond Hill