PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 November, 2010, 12:00am

This may not be right time for trawling ban

Many years ago, Hong Kong was just a small fishing village. But now it is a major financial hub, and the fishing industry has gone into steep decline.

However, there are still a number of fishermen who rely on the industry to make a living and who use trawlers.

And yet now, the government plans to prohibit trawling in Hong Kong waters.

There are plans to compensate the fishermen, but I wonder if this is the best solution.

We should think about the impact this ban will have on the lives of these fishermen.

While most kinds of fish can still be caught without trawling, alternative methods are not as effective.

It is a low-cost method which brings satisfactory returns.

Also, there are species which cannot be caught without trawling, such as flatfish and mantis shrimp.

If trawling is banned and catches of local fishermen are reduced, then supplies to markets will drop and there will be an increase in the price of seafood.

This could have a negative impact for those people who are on low incomes and therefore struggling to make ends meet.

This could adversely affect people from the grass-roots of society.

Also, when we look at the destruction of marine habitats, we should not just be talking about local fishermen.

Boats are coming from outside to fish in Hong Kong waters.

They must be included in any measures adopted by the government.

I am not saying that a ban on trawling in Hong Kong is necessarily a bad thing.

However, given the present state of the local fishing industry, I am not convinced it is the right policy at this point in time.

Even though Hong Kong has now been transformed into an international financial centre, there are still citizens who rely heavily on agriculture and fishing to earn a living.

The fishing industry is in decline and it may eventually disappear. But at the present time, perhaps we should be looking at other ways to protect our marine environment.

Kary Yip, Tsuen Wan

Ineffective curb on junk mail

It is no wonder that there has only been a limited uptake on the Hongkong Post sticker indicating that no junk mail is wanted ('Slow start for junk mail fight', November 8).

As usual, the government has been half-hearted in its attempt to make a truly positive step to help improve the environment.

Instead of adopting such a pathetic approach to such a vitally important issue, it should have produced a small leaflet.

This would be printed in both Chinese and English and stress the need to reduce the amount of paper we all use or receive in the form of junk mail and asking us all to affix the 'No Circular Mail' sticker to our mail boxes.

Hongkong Post could have brought this vitally important matter to the attention of every household in Hong Kong in a matter of a week.

Also, why are the government's circulars exempt from this programme?

The government contacts every household in Hong Kong at least eight times a year when sending out water and property rates demands.

It is surely a very simple process to make sure that these communications are spread over eight months and that any government junk mail that it feels necessary to subject us poor citizens to is included with such rate demands.

Or is that just too sensible an idea?

Finally, why are politicians and charities exempt from this no junk mail initiative?

Bob Beadman, Ma Wan

School shows right approach

I was pleased to read about a secondary school which is encouraging students to explore their creative side and not just focus on academic studies ('An exercise in toeing the line in class', November 9).

The Ma On Shan school has classes in filmmaking and soccer for students 'who perform well in class'.

We have seen the detrimental effects of schools which see securing their reputation as being more important than their students' development. It seems too often you are either seen as being good at sport or good academically.

I hope more schools can help their pupils to strike a balance between doing their academic work and being able to pursue other talents.

Tang Hiu-chung, Hung Hom

Allocate funds for tutorials

Mothers with full-time jobs who are on low incomes sometimes feel that while they are at work they have no choice but to leave their children at home or let them wander the streets.

This raises concerns about the safety of the children and has led to some parents only taking part-time jobs. But this compounds their financial problems.

The government should allocate more resources to childcare so these children can be offered tutorials after school.

The government must ensure the next generation from the grass roots is offered a better learning environment. Allocating more to childcare services should be considered a priority.

Justin Ma, Kwung Tong

LPG rethink long overdue

Recently, we have heard a lot of talk and seen some action with regards to improving Hong Kong's air quality.

One area of interest is the cleaning up of emissions from public transport. However, given that the government has introduced the use of liquefied petroleum gas in taxis and minibuses, why has it failed to introduce its use in its own vehicles?

Furthermore, if the government believes that LPG is a cleaner fuel, why does it not follow in the footsteps of some countries and let private cars convert to LPG? I believe that the people of Hong Kong deserve a succinct and honest answer.

Justin Hayward, Tung Chung

Nuclear power the way forward

If Hong Kong is as bad as it is portrayed by Gloria Chang, of Greenpeace ('Increasing reliance on nuclear energy is not the answer for HK', November 4), then it might just have been the right place for the Climate Dialogue conference [last week] to show how not to.

For once the government is right - nuclear energy is, all-round, the most reliable, efficient, clean and climate-friendly form of energy, with no carbon dioxide and no methane.

Wind power, for example, needs a fossil-fuelled or nuclear back-up kept at idling power to allow for windless days setting in, unless it is linked up to the national wind-power grid covering a vast area.

Even then it cannot meet power demands.

Nothing can be totally safe and yet nuclear power has a good safety record worldwide and meltdown-proof designs are available.

Greenpeace should do something useful instead of government-bashing at every turn.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan

Dangerous energy plan

I can understand the concerns expressed by Gloria Chang of Greenpeace about nuclear power ('Increasing reliance on nuclear energy is not the answer for HK', November 4).

Further use of nuclear energy is an act of sheer ignorance.

We know that the emissions of radioactive particles can damage humans.

Also, the disposal of nuclear waste creates problems and threatens an environmental catastrophe. Just look at the problems that have arisen over the plan to expand the landfill in Tseung Kwan O, which is for ordinary waste.

One possible solution talked about is moving nuclear waste abroad.

Exporting such waste simply means moving the problem to another location.

The country that receives this waste then faces its own environmental nightmare and it puts a strain on its budgets.

I am opposed to the Hong Kong government's plans to increase the amount of nuclear power we use.

We need, instead, to have more energy-saving campaigns to raise people's awareness.

For example, lights should only be switched on when they are necessary and that should include neon lights on the outside of buildings.

Attaining zero-carbon emissions requires a concerted effort, not a dangerous nuclear plan.

Siu Ching-ning, Tin Shui Wai

Inmates better off in green jail

I refer to the report ('New green jail offers a more humane look', November 4).

The traditional prison is seen as being dark, airless and overcrowded, with hardly any windows. There is very little natural light.

Sometimes inmates have to share cells and this is not a favourable environment and can lead to conflicts.

This new, environmentally friendly facility is structurally better than old-style prisons.

Ventilation systems have been upgraded and there is more natural light.

Inmates are not having to endure the stifling conditions so common in prisons.

With this improved environment, the prisoners will feel better emotionally.

They are enjoying a healthier lifestyle and I am sure they will be better behaved. Supervision of the prison population by correctional services staff will be much easier in such a facility.

The people in custody at this new facility can enjoy a safe, humane and decent environment.

Alex Yeung Tit-ho, Aberdeen