Talkback

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 April, 2009, 12:00am

What do you think of the 'no plastic bags' campaign?

Another 'no plastic bag day' campaign was briefly reported ('Pharmacies join 'no plastic bags' campaign', March 23) but it deserves further attention.

The campaign was organised by Greeners Action in conjunction with the Hong Kong General Chamber of Pharmacy.

The initiation ceremony was also attended by the assistant director of the Environmental Protection Department, Alfred Lee, who still insists that we have been disposing of three plastic shopping bags per person per day.

Clearly, his estimated figure is 10 times higher than the 0.3 bags per person per day, based on the Hong Kong Retail Management Association's figures.

Under the Greeners Action scheme, customers needing plastic bags on Tuesdays for their bulky purchases from local independent pharmacies that have signed up would be asked to give 50 HK cents for each bag. The proceeds go directly to its campaign funds.

But, as plastic bags - both used shopping bags and bin liners - are the only practical receptacles to protect our general environmental hygiene when throwing out rubbish, they clearly cannot be regarded as our environmental problem.

Therefore, it doesn't make sense to give financial support to this campaign group, only to facilitate it to fire up more ill-conceived plastic bag campaigns.

According to other newspapers, the Hong Kong General Chamber of Pharmacy reckoned the 200 pharmacies that signed up could possibly save about 200 bags each per week. That makes a total of about 2 million bags a year, or a saving of less than a quarter of a bag per person per year.

The current campaign of the Hong Kong Retail Management Association is markedly different.

Plastic bags will not be given out automatically every day but customers will not be refused or charged for a shopping bag if they need one. The association aims to further demonstrate that voluntary efforts are effective in reducing the number of bags given out, without the need for a punitive bag levy that is as risible as it is flawed.

Alex F.T. Chu, Clear Water Bay

How can the King of Kowloon's calligraphy be saved?

It upset me when I read that some of the calligraphy of 'King of Kowloon' Tsang Tsou-choi has been painted over.

I felt very upset because his calligraphy is regarded as an asset of Hong Kong. I think many other people in Hong Kong feel the same way.

When the public was discussing how to protect and conserve Tsang's calligraphy, the government said protection could come in the form of taking photos, but I think this is a ridiculous argument.

Surely his calligraphy could be covered by glass.

His work at the Star Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui has been protected in this way, but his other work has not been conserved.

It is vulnerable to the effects of humidity.

Therefore, I think some of his work on pillars and doors that are portable should be moved to a museum. Residents and visitors can benefit from seeing the calligraphy.

Surely some form of protective solution could be used. Officials should be ordered to do something.

This is also a matter of civic education.

By protecting Tsang's calligraphy the government is, in effect, teaching people to admire it and respect art.

Erica Mak Sze-kei, Siu Sai Wan

Should the smoking ban be delayed?

I am a non-smoker who wants to raise concerns about the ban on smoking in bars and clubs that will be enforced from July 1.

I oppose this ban on the grounds that it will drive people to smoke in public spaces.

When this ban comes into effect, smokers will have no choice but to light up on pavements and in other public spaces.

We need to be careful not to confuse our efforts to discourage the use of tobacco with the mandate to protect the health and well-being of everyone in this city.

Prohibiting smoking in bars and clubs will only serve to drive this habit into public spaces where all people will be exposed to it.

The government should focus its attention on efforts to restrict smoking in public.

Considering that there are numerous non-smokers in the city, bars and clubs should consider the market potential of offering a non-smoking environment to clients.

Until that choice is offered, I will continue to avoid smoke-filled bars and hope for a city that has pavements that are smoke-free.

Robert Christie, Kennedy Town

How can the booking system at public leisure facilities be improved?

The government announced a free-admission period for three months to celebrate the Beijing Olympics last year. Unfortunately, the turnout was far from satisfactory ('Free sports badly handled: watchdog', March 27).

There were several complaints about the scheme. Although the Leisure and Cultural Services Department received more than 2 million bookings, almost one-third were unused. This was very wasteful and it stopped people using facilities that had been booked by people who did not show up.

Sports coaches and other users had to line up as early as 3am to book a court and this obviously annoyed them. There should have been more adverts explaining the booking system.

People need to be aware that Leisure and Cultural Services leaflets are available and that they can also make bookings and cancellations online.

Once users are more familiar with the procedures, there will less waste and booked courts will not go unused.

Coaches, especially the ones using badminton and tennis courts, were badly affected by the problems caused during the three-month free period.

This is their job and it was hard for them to earn a living during this period.

I think the Leisure and Cultural Services Department should look into the possibility of reserving part of the facilities for them.

Their licence numbers could be listed on the department's website.

The sport centre officer could cross-check these numbers to ensure a booking was from a genuine coach.

Jonathon Lau Chun-yin, Tsuen Wan

 

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