Letters

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 September, 2009, 12:00am
 

Plastic bottle levy would reduce waste

I would like to congratulate the Hong Kong government and everyone else involved in implementing the plastic bag levy.

It is certainly a great green initiative, which will have a positive impact on the environment for many years to come.

In order to complement it, I believe there is one more very important step missing, control over discarded plastic bottles. This is perhaps a worse problem than bags. Plastic bottles are being discarded everywhere.

Despite all possible efforts to educate people and foment awareness about protecting the environment, the problem not only persists but seems to be getting worse.

The beautiful shores of Hong Kong are full of plastic bottles. And our hiking trails are replete with discarded bottles, despite the government's efforts in placing many rubbish bins and 'bring your litter home' signs along the way and having cleaning crews frequently sweeping the trails.

Construction sites are the worst black spots. Workers throw away bottles anywhere on a site.

Water bottles, from all brands, iced tea, soya and isotonic drinks are thrown away. And the cheaper the brand, the more you see of them, empty and discarded.

Now that the plastic bag levy has been successfully implemented, it is time for the government to consider doing something about this spread of plastic bottle litter.

Perhaps the levy could also apply to these bottles.

People should pay a deposit for each bottle and would get the deposit back when returning the empty bottle to a collection point. This system has been adopted in some European countries.

Unless a system hurts people's pockets, or can make money for someone who collects the bottles, I do not see how this problem can be resolved in the near future.

In order to finance the cost of setting up the collection points, the government could enforce a deposit of, for example, 50 cents and refund 30 cents when the used bottle or container is returned.

This is just one suggestion, but I am sure there are several different ways of implementing such a programme.

Claudio Salgado, Sai Kung

Fast-food firms can do their bit

A green group wants the government to introduce a 50-cent levy on disposable utensils. I would support such a move.

I see a tax on disposable cups and cutlery as effectively the second phase of the plastic bag levy. It is clear that large fast-food chains like McDonald's and KFC generate a lot of plastic cups and styrofoam bowls when someone buys something to take away.

These firms should be encouraged to use recyclable material for packaging.

Also, fast-food chains could encourage their customers to bring their own utensils.

Then, if they did so, they could get a discount.

Fast-food firms that actively co-operated to cut waste would get an environmentally friendly certificate.

This would boost their reputation and show their commitment to corporate responsibility.

More people, including tourists, would be willing to buy food from them.

Mandy Lai, Tseung Kwan O

Utensils tax is a bad idea

A green group wants a levy to be imposed on disposable cutlery which, it argues, is not an environmentally friendly product.

It has pointed to the large amount of such waste generated at children's birthday parties, for example.

I think that other methods should be adopted rather than imposing a levy.

The sum of 50 cents may not seem like much, but it can add up and make a difference, especially during these difficult economic times.

For hygiene reasons, you must have utensils with takeaway food. I do not think a tax would lead to a reduction in the use of disposable utensils.

Also, I do not see why customers at these restaurants should be targeted.

Instead of penalising diners, green groups should exert more pressure on fast-food outlets, so that they provide reusable utensils to their diners who are eating in.

I am also afraid that if this levy is imposed, more taxes will follow in the name of safeguarding the environment.

The fact is that people will generate a certain quantity of waste.

If more levies are introduced, people from the grass roots will suffer.

I am not in favour of the use of these disposable utensils, but taxing is not the way to deal with the problem.

Mike Lam, Kwun Tong

Blame polluting cars, not buses

I refer to the editorial 'Time to cut the number of buses on our roads' (August 24).

A bus can accommodate more than 100 passengers, whereas a car takes four, assuming the driver can persuade three more people to travel at the same time.

Anyone who has eyes can see that the main cause of congestion and pollution is the private car.

Hundreds of cars containing one person make their way along Queen's Road Central, causing gridlock conditions.

We are being held to ransom by the private car - an ill-conceived bypass using yet another bit of the harbour and a four-lane highway destroying Sai Kung. Both projects are designed to appease the car driver and motor industry lobby. Many cities are trying to reduce car travel in favour of public transport, but not Hong Kong.

Here, the only innovation the government comes up with is more roads.

John Brennan, Sai Kung

Programmes of poor quality

I share the views of Robert Chua ('Viewers can halt tide of degrading programmes', August 25) that some TV programmes are of low quality and should not be shown.

TV operators have a responsibility to project the right values. They can have a tremendous impact upon our younger generation.

Surely some of the really low-quality programmes could be shown late at night, say, after midnight.

Programmes produced by RTHK or outsourced are so much better.

I urge our television producers to be more socially responsible when making programmes. I hope the government can allow more free channels to be made available to the general public, so that viewers have more choices. Only through competition can the quality of TV programmes get better.

Jody Leung, Diamond Hill

Careful thought

I am glad that the government is inviting applications to renovate more of Hong Kong's historic buildings.

It must take care when deciding who is eligible to take over old buildings. An organisation which makes an application may not have the knowledge or experience required to renovate such a building. They may propose the introduction of facilities which could adversely affect the building and its historic value. Rules must be drawn up which are strictly adhered to.

I would like to see more of these old buildings being converted into museums that reflect the collective memory of Hong Kong.

Janet Ho, Yau Tong

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