PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 June, 2011, 12:00am

Germany has set example for all nations

Germany has made the decision to end nuclear power in the country by 2022.

This decision should be welcomed by the international community. Finally a government is heeding the concerns expressed by people over the danger posed by further development of nuclear power plants, even though supporters of nuclear energy describe it as a safe and clean power resource.

I hope more developed countries will follow the example set by Germany.

By contrast, in our motherland the government plans to expand its nuclear power programme. I am concerned about corruption during the construction of new plants. Because of this some of the new buildings may not meet international standards and I have no confidence in any of the monitoring procedures implemented by officials.

China should be accelerating programmes aimed at developing renewable power resources like solar and wind power. Given the enormous scale of the country's hydroelectric power projects, there is great potential to make good use of natural resources and curb the damage to the environment. Too often the government looks at economic benefits and ignores other considerations. But when you have a crisis like the one at the nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan, the losses far exceed any economic gains made in the past.

The victims of Chernobyl must feel the world has not learned from the mistakes made. I thought the way nuclear plants are operated would be safer 25 years after Chernobyl, but not much seems to have improved.

People's attention spans are short and pressure should be put on all nations to phase out nuclear power as quickly as possible. If we fail to do this history will repeat itself.

Wu Sze-lok, Mid-Levels

Parks best option for waterfront

As we see the filling in of yet more of the diminishing harbour, to create land, it may be hoped that the design of a much earlier harbourfront facility would be copied on the new plots of land now emerging to the north of Hong Kong Island.

I am referring to the large harbourside Quarry Bay Park at Taikoo Shing, opened in 1994 and much used by local residents, office workers and visitors.

Thanks to its imaginative and attractive design, this public park offers recreational areas for the enjoyment of people of all ages.

Young children can have fun in the playground and older youngsters can use the tennis and basketball courts and the football areas. Then there are fitness stations spread around, as well as a great jogging track.

Older park users may enjoy the harbour-view promenade, the walking paths, the sitting-out areas and the tai chi garden.

All in all, the park offers something for everyone.

How wonderful it would be if many other districts of Hong Kong could have similarly well- designed and well-used public harbourside parks.

Those newly reclaimed land plots now appearing along the harbourfront could hardly be put to better use, for the benefit of the whole community.

Paul Surtees, Mid-Levels

Vendors face far too much red tape

Every year there are fewer news-stands on Hong Kong's streets.

With so many convenience stores it is more difficult for news-stand hawkers to make a living.

Business has got even worse with the substantial tobacco tax hike forcing some people to give up smoking.

Also, some of these vendors face the problem of having to move from their spot because they are in front of a shop and the shop owner objects ('Hawkers shunted aside for 'progress'', May 26).

When these people are seeking a permanent location for the news-stands the government must simplify the application process.

At present, the hawkers may have to go to seven or eight departments before they get approval and this can be a very difficult process. It should be made simpler and become the responsibility of only one or two departments. And it should be possible to fast-track an application so the vendors can get a permanent spot and establish their business.

Chan Sik-lun, Tsz Wan Shan

We must take note of green wake-up call

I agree with those correspondents who have argued that many Hong Kong people have failed to realise that we face serious environmental problems.

They continue to selfishly adopt bad habits and do not seem to care about a problem that has reached global proportions.

I believe the government should be allocating more resources to get across the message to adults and young alike that we must work together to protect our environment. It should be targeting students and also getting celebrities to try and convey a green message.

Cecilia Yeung, Kwai Chung

Cage home problem not insoluble

Many elderly people and others on low incomes are having to live in cage homes.

This has become a major social issue in Hong Kong especially with increasing rents.

I think the cage home problem can be solved with the collaboration of different parties.

The government must introduce more initiatives aimed at lowering property prices.

Also it needs to make more public housing available to elderly cage-home dwellers.

For example, it could renovate old buildings in areas such as Kowloon City and Sham Shui Po which would provide these people with better accommodation.

Landlords also have a role to play. They could offer lower rents to pensioners and other people who are poor.

We have a responsibility to take care of these people as they are members of our society. They deserve to enjoy a better quality of life.

Jessica Yau, Ho Man Tin

Officers help delinquents quit crime

I read, with interest, the letter from Patsy Leung ('Encourage young people to volunteer', May 31).

I was recently introduced to a group of senior expatriate Hong Kong police officers who outlined a project called Operation Breakthrough. It aims to reduce juvenile crime through involving children at risk in sports activities. I am informed that the recidivism rate for boys and girls involved in this project is extremely low and at any one time there are 500 children benefiting.

However, the most exciting aspect of this project is that boys who had previously been delinquent themselves but were taken on by the project are now leading and mentoring new children who have been identified as being at risk.

These young men, who could have been a huge burden on society, have not only got themselves back on track but are helping to ensure the next generation do not follow a life of crime.

I was hugely impressed by the work of these expatriate officers and also of the young men who have chosen to become stalwart members of Hong Kong society.

Sol Wetherfield, London, England

Rules should apply to all buildings

When I bought my flat it had a pre-existing notice to demolish the 'illegal' structure built on the flat's roof. My three neighbours had the same notice.

I demolished the structure and repaired the roof to the tune of HK$100,000.

The offending structures we were forced to remove were perfectly safe, attractive and bothered no one and the disruption, wastage and inconvenience, not to mention cost, to demolish them was immense.

However, they were built without official sanction and that was the price to pay for ignoring the rules.

The regulations are clear on such structures, which every property owner has a responsibility to know about and abide by, including those people who have their balconies filled in.

If the government does not follow through on enforcing all property owners to comply with its regulations and for offenders to rectify their offences at their own expense, then I will be demanding full compensation for unfairly requiring me to pay to demolish my inherited non-compliant structure.

It would only be right to do so because, as the government is fond of declaring that Hong Kong offers a fair playing field for all, I am quite sure it would not wish to be accused of arbitrarily applying its regulations on the people it governs.

Elaine Pickering, Central