Stay alert over plan for caverns
The government plans to move various facilities such as waste water treatment underground, into man-made rock caverns ('Bureau gives the drill on hiding utilities in caverns', May 18).
All in all, they hope to move about 100-hectares worth of facilities out of sight. This is not a bad idea, but, as with all good ideas from this government, we must stay alert as it is prone to mess it up in the implementation.
In the wake of the announcement of the cavern plan, the administration announced a plan for reclamation outside Victoria Harbour. I believe there is a strong link between the two projects.
To fit all facilities, 100 hectares of cavern space will have a roof height of, say, 10 metres - if not higher - to accommodate all the equipment.
That results in at least one million cubic metres or three million tonnes of waste, mainly rock and sand. Where does all that waste go? How convenient if we can just dump it in the sea and gain even more valuable land in the process.
None of the media reports about this cavern idea that I have seen include any mention of this waste problem.
Yet three million tonnes is a lot of material. It is not something you can easily sweep under the carpet.
Wouter van Marle, Tai Po
Encourage young people to volunteer
In view of public concern over young people's indulgence in drugs and gambling, there seems to be an urgent need for the promotion of volunteer work in Hong Kong.
The general impression of volunteering in the community is one of cheap labour and unrewarding tasks, which puts off many public-spirited citizens. Inadequate training and indiscriminate assignments given to potential volunteers often dampen well-intentioned helpers' enthusiasm.
Fortunately, there are still devoted volunteers, many of them professional people who, despite obstacles, are determined to provide much-needed voluntary services to the community. These volunteers not only give up their time and energy, but also try to share their knowledge and skills to benefit others. Without materialistic rewards and often paying for their travel and meal expenses, their altruistic attitude and compassion for service make them unsung heroes of our community.
But it is a two-way street. While volunteer doctors, counsellors or teachers make sacrifices they, too, get their satisfaction in seeing improvements in the lives of the people they help. The relief of suffering, success in problem-solving, and gratitude expressed by novices for newly acquired knowledge fulfil the motto of 'the blessing of giving is greater than that of receiving'.
In the past, much effort was made by the government and voluntary agencies to promote volunteer work.
The lack of such effort now partly accounts for people's lack of interest in volunteering. Many people, especially the younger generation, abstain from helping the needy.
I suggest that more publicity on the merits and needs of volunteer work be launched so that more people will come forward to join teams of volunteers that already exist.
Such promotional efforts can benefit our young people who can channel their energy into worthy causes. It will also boost public education and make Hong Kong a genuinely caring society.
Patsy Leung, Mid-Levels
Buying HOS resale flats too difficult
The upsurge in property prices has led to calls for the government to reconsider relaunching the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS).
While I can understand the reasons behind this argument, I believe the administration should focus on the revitalisation of the HOS secondary market.
The recent transaction prices of HOS flats have been around (and below) the HK$2 million mark. Flats at this price will appear very attractive to the public. Prospective home buyers would welcome a further opening up of the HOS secondary market.
However, this market is hampered by complicated administrative procedures.
The Housing Authority should smooth the process and assist in developing an information exchange platform to make the HOS secondary market more vibrant.
In the long run, I believe the authority should consider relaxing the requirements for buying HOS resale flats so that more people are eligible to join the secondary market.
Lam Wai-leung, Tuen Mun
Touch screen mobile can cause injuries
Technology is developing at a fast pace and there are now products on the market with touch screens, such as the latest mobile phones and iPads.
I can understand why they are so popular as they are attractive and convenient and have a variety of functions. Their popularity stems from the fact that they have many different functions.
However, it concerns me that so many people almost treat these devices as fashion items, so when a new model comes on the market they have to buy it.
I have friends who change their mobile phones every two years even when their old one is not broken. They just like the look of the new model.
This happens a lot and often old mobiles that are still in working order are discarded. This is very wasteful and damages the environment.
I also think there are health issues to consider.
Some people become obsessed with their new mobile and constantly use the touch screen functions.
This kind of overuse can be very painful on their fingers and can lead to them sustaining chronic injuries.
I understand why people want to buy the latest model of a mobile phone, but they must consider the environmental issues. Also, they must be aware of the harm they could do to themselves and try to avoid injuries caused by overuse.
Natalie Yu, Kowloon City
Better toilet facilities for tour groups
Hong Kong is facing a crisis with public toilets. With the huge influx of mainland tourists, the government must think about providing adequate facilities.
The sight of mainlanders urinating in alleys may be common in Shenzhen but it is unacceptable to see it occurring more frequently in Hong Kong, which regards itself as a world-class city.
Fast food outlets seem to have become popular with tour groups needing to find a toilet. This causes problems for staff who have to clean up the toilets which are often left in a disgraceful state by these groups.
Lawmakers could look overseas to come up with the right solutions. For example, they could install some self-cleaning automatic toilets that are provided in countries in Europe which are popular with tourists, such as France and Switzerland.
Yunmei Wang, Shenzhen
Do more to get old cars off the road
I refer to the report ('Tax concession for green cars could be raised', May 24).
Reducing the tax can persuade more people to use environmentally friendly cars.
However, if the government wants to reduce car usage, this is not the way to go.
It should introduce a policy which forces old and polluting cars off the road, such as increasing the frequency of vehicle tests for them from once to twice a year. It should also do more to promote the use of public transport.
Regina Chan Ka-yan, Tsz Wan Shan
Drivers snub pedestrian crossings
Hong Kong drivers have a variety of bad and dangerous habits. One that is blatantly obvious and common is the complete disregard for pedestrian crossings.
From my observations, out of 10 drivers, only one or two will stop for pedestrians to cross.
I have never seen a police officer book a driver for committing an offence, as I suspect the Transport Department wants to keep traffic flowing.
This is especially relevant in the light of recent reports in the South China Morning Post regarding traffic accidents along Nathan Road.
Would the department care to shed light on how strict it is regarding the enforcement of the law on drivers stopping at pedestrian crossings?
H. Hiew, Fanling