Lamma Island

Online district bulletin board would deter passing of the buck

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 May, 2011, 12:00am


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Yet again the government has failed to effectively consult the public, this time about controversial plans to concrete over Lamma's historic waterfront.

Why is it, in these days of modern media, that Hong Kong people have to be lucky enough to catch an advert in the Chinese- or English-language press in order to be informed of government consultations?

Surely it would be better for these notices to be posted in the community and for details to be published on an online district database.

People could post their responses for all to see. The 'overzealous environmentalists' referred to by Anton Ivanov ('Reclamation good for Lamma', April 29) could have their say, along with the community's business owners, elected representatives, academics and professionals.

More importantly, the process would become transparent, which would resolve friction caused by flawed assumptions.

An online district database would also greatly enhance the complaints procedure.

Complaints could be logged for all to see. People who want to support environmental improvement, for example, could post their comments, and others could support them with a click of the mouse. Crucially, this would also assist intergovernmental communication and deter buck-passing.

On Lamma, it took 10 months of phone calls, e-mails and meetings for the government to remove a pile of rubbish from our harbourfront.

The problem is that for the public, rubbish is just rubbish. For government, what kind of rubbish it is and where it lies dictates which department is responsible for cleaning it up.

Though the government was asked to enhance the area to prevent further littering, this has proved impossible to achieve.

It has also proved difficult to get officials to take significant action on littering, graffiti and dog mess - three nuisances that are all infringements under Hong Kong law and which impact negatively on our environment.

If you go to the police, they will tell you that the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department is responsible for enforcement. In turn, the department will say that some areas are under the purview of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, and then that department will say it has no resources and it is a matter for the police.

For a member of the public who just wants to live in a cleaner environment, this process is exhausting and soul-destroying.

It is also damaging for the administration. Perhaps someone in government would like to respond?

Jo Wilson, Lamma