PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 March, 2011, 12:00am

Voluntary work brings big benefits

Some parents think it is a waste of time for children to take part in voluntary work. They say spending too much time on extra-curricular activities might affect their children's academic results.

I am a volunteer. I know the work can be tough, but it is worthwhile. There are different kinds of jobs, for example, setting up stalls, visiting needy and elderly people and selling flags.

In fact, community service comes under OLE (other learning experiences), which is a key feature of the NSS curriculum.

I believe parents should encourage their children to help the less-fortunate. This way, they can gain valuable experience as well as a better understanding of underprivileged people in our society.

I hope more teenagers will sign up for voluntary work in future.

Kelly Tsang Wing-suet, Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College

Let's stop this deadly pollution

I read with interest the article 'Revealed: the deadly threat from our bad air' (South China Morning Post, January 20). According to the article, Hong Kong's air pollution is killing people.

Falling visibility, caused by the city's rising pollution levels, has been linked to an increase in annual deaths. Research has shown that 70 more people die each year as a result.

Professor Anthony Hedley, of the community medicine department at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), says the higher the pollutant concentrations, the lower the visibility. Every kilometre of reduced visibility increases our mortality risks, according to a HKU survey.

The city's air pollution is mainly caused by emissions from cars and factories across the border. To make matters worse, the pollutants are trapped by skyscrapers. This can increase our health problems.

A lot needs to be done to improve the situation. For example, we should introduce laws to force drivers and manufacturers to adopt eco-friendly measures.

The government can also plant more trees in urban areas and teach citizens to protect our environment.

If we don't act now, the poor air quality will continue to pose a serious health hazard for Hongkongers.

Winnie Chan Ka-wai, Tsuen Wan Government Secondary School

Star students

I am writing in response to the article 'The world's at their feet' (Young Post, March 4). The article is about two students from an international school who achieved top grades in Latin and chemistry.

I appreciate the school's supportive culture which helps students learn.

On the other hand, local public schools train their students for exams. As a result, students may lose their identity and find it difficult to achieve their aims.

Eric Chan, Hang Seng School of Commerce

Punish exam cheats

Recently, I read a newspaper report about Japanese students using smart phones to access internet discussion boards and ask for answers during university entrance examinations.

In a majority of the cases, the posts received quick responses during exam hours.

If the universities identify the culprit behind the postings, they may refuse to admit the person if he or she has passed the exams.

I think Japanese authorities should implement a mobile phone ban during exams.

Exams should be fair. Cheats should be severely punished.

Christy Wong Ching-nga, Leung Shek Chee College

Balancing act

Light pollution is a serious problem in Hong Kong. Many companies put up digital billboards or flashing signs to promote their products.

These overly bright lights can be found in busy areas, such as Mong Kok, Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay. This is not only a waste of electricity but can bring misery to many residents who complain they cannot sleep.

Many of these lights can be turned off at midnight.

LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are more energy-efficient but we should have restrictions on their use as well.

We should find a balance that satisfies both the advertisers and residents.

Alice Hung, Pooi To Middle School