Green vision for project on Lamma
The Baroque on Lamma project is an extremely good opportunity for private developers and the government to show they have learned something from environmentalists.
Being an environmentalist is not always about keeping everything like it was but rather ensuring the positive integration of humans and nature.
Tung O can be hostile terrain when the city is hit by a typhoon. There can be 15-metre-high waves. This is why no one has shown any interest in living there and why land there is so cheap and underdeveloped. For a project to be viable it must be the solution to a particular problem. Hong Kong needs berths [for boats] and places to develop marine activities with the decline of fishing.
In Hong Kong we need a large development which can show that it has the capacity to build an green environment. As a scientist, I see very good opportunities to develop technologies that can make this place hospitable. I have been thinking about this for months and I have come up with ideas to give this project one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world.
One of the ideas is the protective wall that is common with marinas. If it involves reclamation from the sea this can lead to all the usual environmental disasters. The solution that I propose is to sink large concrete boxes equipped with turbines. In that way there is no reclamation and the underwater protection wall will generate power, maybe enough to provide power for the whole project.
This system will not generate electricity but compressed air that can be used for air-conditioning machinery, even for vehicles. Can you get anything cleaner than compressed air?
This is what I call good environmental integration, which is surely the goal of all environmental campaigners.
Lucien Gambarota, Yau Yat Chuen
Angered by double standards
Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities have long experienced unfair and prejudiced treatment.
Last Sunday they were forced, by the police to shut down a dance performance intended as a way of expressing their views on the 7th International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (Idaho). They were told their dance did not have 'the required permit - a Temporary Places of Public Entertainment Licence'' ('You can gather but you can't dance, police tell gays', May 16).
This is absurd. Every day and evening hundreds of people in parks around Hong Kong dance, sing and do tai chi. Why aren't they threatened with prosecution? The saddest thing is that the government is trying to build a cultural hub in West Kowloon when street performances of any kind are viewed as blocking of roads or causing annoyance to pedestrians.
I wonder if those responsible for arts and culture in the government have ever visited Las Ramblas in Barcelona or the London Underground.
This is another 'perfect' example of our city's intolerance of diversity and of how our police officers can selectively enforce laws targeting a minority.
When the government says it is 'creating a diverse community', it must make a start in its own departments by changing officials' attitudes and opinions.
Jacky Tsang, Tsuen Wan
Officials must think beyond levy
The present plastic bag levy has been criticised as not being effective and for failing to reduce substantially the number of plastic bags dumped in landfills.
So should we regard the policy as a complete failure, and what insight can we gain into the origin of the plastic waste problem?
Plastic bags are used for so many purposes because they convenient.
While the levy may have led to fewer people using these bags, it has had little effect on the amount used for packaging.
When it comes to this issue, we need to go back to the three basic principles of environmental conservation - reduce, reuse and recycle.
The bag tax may lead to a reduction in unnecessary consumption, but I doubt that raising the levy would lead to a dramatic reduction in consumption, as at present many businesses are excluded from the levy.
Regarding reuse, it can sometimes be impractical to reuse these bags for reasons of hygiene.
Recycling may be an important step towards solving the plastic-bag waste problem.
I do not feel the government has made the effort to draft and implement a long-term feasible and sustainable recycling strategy for Hong Kong's waste.
Moreover, how about investigating the possibility of substituting plastic bags with bags made of biodegradable materials for purposes where the former are deemed necessary?
Would it be feasible to require businesses which are currently excluded from the levy to use only bags made of biodegradable materials?
To truly solve the plastic bag problem requires one to go much further than just a simple-minded policy of plastic bag levy.
It requires foresight and planning from the government and support from the community.
Jamie Wong, To Kwa Wan
Subsidies could help small firms
In theory, the minimum wage law should benefit many low-income workers. But in fact the new law can have a negative impact for employers and their employees. Rather than finding their wages increased to the statutory minimum of HK$28 an hour, some workers are finding themselves being laid off as their bosses seek to reduce costs.
Others find they are not paid for lunch or toilet breaks.
This can mean fewer job opportunities for some poor people. Also, some small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), unable to afford the extra costs resulting from the law, will go out of business.
The legislation requires the co-operation of employers, workers and the government.
The administration could offer subsidies to SMEs to help them overcome what must be a difficult period of transition. Company owners must also realise that this is a law they must abide by.
Eva Kong, Sheung shui
Money will not revive HK soccer
I disagree with those who would like subsidies to be provided to local football.
I agree most Hong Kong fans prefer to watch matches from the top leagues in Europe. But I think the problem with standards comes down to the players.
You do not see the government providing a lot of funds to sports like windsurfing, table tennis, badminton and cycling. But their performances are still better than Hong Kong football in terms of winning medals and other prizes.
As I say, my main concern is with the players and I have been watching local football since the 1980s.
Throwing money at the problem will not solve it. Most African nations are short of funds and yet many perform well at the World Cup.
I believe success on the pitch can only be achieved through hard work, training and self-discipline.
Keung Chan, Tai Po
Sun Hung Kai no longer owns mall
I would like to clarify a matter that could be open to misinterpretation by readers of Nicolet Ruzius' letter ('Developers could go 'green' and save us from all these uniform malls', May 8).
We wish to make it clear that while Sun Hung Kai Properties did initially build Royal Ascot and related facilities, the developer no longer retains ownership of the mall and is not involved in mall leasing matters.
We hope that this clarification will prevent any misunderstanding among your readers.
Margaret Ng, director of corporate communications, Sun Hung Kai Properties
Too little, too late from Pakistan
I refer to the report ('Pakistan in threat to US forces if attacks continue', May 15). I think it is too late and senseless for Pakistan's parliament to have condemned the US mission to kill Osama bin Laden.
If it had issued complaints to Washington over its actions in the country 10 years ago, that would have made sense.
Instead I would strongly recommend the government in Islamabad asks the US and its allies to stay for a while longer and save the nation from being destroyed by Taliban militants who are seeking revenge for the killing of bin Laden.
K. M. Nasir, Mid-Levels