PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 February, 2011, 12:00am

Time to learn about 'greening'

It is time for Hong Kong residents to realise the importance of 'greening'. We need to protect our environment before it is too late.

Greening can be done by adopting new ways of doing things. For example, we can recycle paper and plastic, reduce packaging, and save energy.

Hong Kong is a prosperous city with an efficient public transport network. But there are many things going on which harm the environment.

The government has tried hard to address some of the environmental problems. It has organised eco-friendly activities such as car-free days when people are encouraged to walk to work or use only public transport.

Also, Hongkongers throw away far too much when they should be trying to recycle things. The city's waste problem will only get worse after plans to extend the Tseung Kwan O landfill into Clearwater Bay Country Park were shelved amid strong public opposition. Now there's a plan to build an incinerator.

Officials have said they plan to step up recycling and waste reduction through financial incentives or other measures. But, one of the most effective ways to solve these problems is through education.

In Japan, people understand the need for greening. They help to reduce waste and keep the environment clean.

If Hongkongers take public transport, recycle, and avoid littering, this could make a huge difference. Education is essential so that people know what greening means - and how important it is.

Kiki So, Pooi To Middle School

Cigarette licence could do the trick

Among 5.8 million Hongkongers aged 15 or above, 20.8 per cent of males and 3.7 per cent of females smoke. That amounts to 758,100 smokers, of which 698,700 say they smoke every day - consuming 13.7 cigarettes on average.

Statistics show that slightly more Hongkongers are addicted to tobacco - 12 per cent of the population in the 2009-10 period, compared with 11.8 per cent in 2007-08 - despite the efforts of the anti-smoking lobby.

However, a government survey published last month shows a slight fall in the number of young smokers - those aged 15 to 19 - to 1.8 per cent compared with 2.4 per cent in the previous study. Doctors put that down to the increase in tobacco tax last year.

Meanwhile, some people continue to defy the smoking ban that was extended to 129 open-air and two covered public transport terminals last month. This is in addition to 48 covered terminals that went smoke-free in September last year.

This seems to be a good move, but it is not a solution.

Another option - one that is preventative - might be to introduce a cigarette licence.

We should try to keep young people away from cigarettes. Licences to smoke could be provided by the government only to people who have smoked before - so a new generation of smokers will not find it easy to start. The government should introduce a long-term policy to stop people - particularly youngsters - from lighting up.

Jack Tam, POCA Wong Siu Ching Secondary School

Let teens pursue their dreams

I read a review about the movie Billy Elliot (Young Post, January 19).

The film is about an 11-year-old boy who wants to become a professional ballet dancer. At the time, many people thought ballet dancing was for girls.

Billy takes ballet lessons secretly against his father's wishes. He is also ridiculed by people in the town.

But he is determined to achieve his goal.

I don't think there are many children or teenagers who will withstand such pressure to pursue their dream.

Many local parents want their children to become lawyers, doctors, or bankers because of the job status and high salary.

On the other hand, those who want to become a musician, an artist or even a scientist will face opposition from their parents who believe those jobs are not rewarding or well-paid.

Our adults should realise different people have different talents.

I hope society will abandon job and gender stereotyping and allow teenagers to make their dreams come true.

Lui Tsz-yan, Christian Alliance S.C. Chan Memorial College