Legco did the right thing on landfill
I am writing about the Legislative Council's decision to overturn an order by the government to extend the Tseung Kwan O landfill into the Clearwater Bay Country Park. The order would have turned five hectares of the park - equivalent to the size of about seven football pitches - into a landfill.
I welcome the Legco decision, because the government's proposal would have harmed the environment. It would have led to thousands of trees being cut down.
Landfills should never be built near country parks because the bad smell will be a big problem for the residents.
Worse still, the toxic waste from the landfill will spoil the country park's soil, and all the plants and trees could be destroyed.
Landfills aren't the only way to tackle the waste-disposal problem. Cleaner and more eco-friendly methods, such as incineration, can be introduced.
Therefore, I agree with Legco's decision to repeal the chief executive's order to expand the landfill into the country park.
Enoch Poon Hin-lok, Wah Yan College, Kowloon
A good move to deter smokers
The government extended the smoking ban to 129 open-air and two covered public transport facilities from December last year. This will encourage more smokers to give up their habit and help protect non-smokers' health.
Under the Fixed Penalty (Smoking Offences) Ordinance, anyone who smokes or carries a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe in no-smoking areas or on public transport could be fined HK$1,500.
I support the new law because smokers won't be able to light up while I am waiting for a bus. They pose a serious health hazard to others and pollute the air.
Please give up smoking now.
Bailey Kwok King-hang, CNEC Christian College
Treat dissidents more leniently
People should be allowed to express their opinions, although they may differ from those of the government. For years, Beijing has suppressed protests and punished people who participated in so-called anti-government activities.
I think the central government can adopt a step-by-step approach to grant more freedom to the public.
For example, the jail terms for dissidents can be reduced. This will show the authorities are determined to improve human rights. I am sure the public will welcome such a policy.
Otherwise, there would be more protests as the government tries to stifle dissent.
And the fact that the Nobel Peace Prize went to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo shows foreign governments want Beijing to treat dissidents more leniently.
In another case which has aroused international attention, milk activist Zhao Lianhai was jailed for 'disturbing social order'. He fought for the rights of parents whose children became ill from drinking melamine-tainted milk.
The mainland authorities should worry more about corruption and less about people who speak up against injustice.
In any society, people should have the right to voice their grievances. It is a basic human right, and the mainlanders should not be denied that.
Ivy Kwok, Hotung Secondary School
Classical music needs a boost
I am concerned about the declining popularity of classical music. There are several reasons behind this trend.
Today, music is not limited to concerts and clubs. Artists experiment with new music styles and can quickly gain international recognition through various mediums such as the internet.
Also, many parents, especially in Hong Kong, force their children to learn a musical instrument from a very young age.
They believe such extra-curricular activities will help their children get into a top school. This kind of attitude could turn children away from classical music as they grow older. They are under too much pressure to enjoy music.
I think classical and modern music can go together. For that to happen, we should not regard music as a tool for a better education.
Classical music is a cultural legacy that we should treasure.
Kenneth Cheng, Kau Yan College