PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 August, 2011, 12:00am


The hidden dangers of plastics

After reading about the scandal over toxic plasticiser - recently found added to drinks and snacks in Taiwan - I feel we should do something to save the next generation of people from the harmful results of using this substance, which can cause cancer.

Plasticisers are everywhere. Plasticiser is used in plastic, think about how much plastic we use.

Drinking bottles and throw-away cutlery contain plasticisers. We already know that plastic is damaging to our environment, and now we find it in our food. We must rethink our reliance on plastic.

With its huge talent and expertise in chemistry, Hong Kong can take the lead in regulating the use of plasticiser.

There is a long list of plasticisers available, and some say such regulations will hinder development of products. But must we endlessly resort to artificial substances?

Just following the regulations of the United States and Britain may not work. The US laws are 34 years old, and the list covered is insufficient to deal with the wide range of new plasticisers on the market.

We import lots of plastic from the mainland. If we don't set tough standards, we will be the losers.

Patrick Star, Wong Tai Shan Memorial College

The awful truth about hospitals

Recently, I was admitted to hospital with a leg injury. It was my first time, so I was nervous. As painful as the operation was, I recovered quickly.

However, I saw in that hospital something that is not right.

Most patients are elderly, and some have lost a hand or leg. They cannot eat or go to the toilet without help. Yet nurses can be unkind and rude, and punish them.

My parents and plenty of friends were concerned about me. They bought things for me and wished me the best. They were willing to help.

But some families may not visit their elderly relatives for a long time. These people are bored, mainly because they do not have good relationships with their families.

Family is essential. When we encounter tricky problems, they can offer unconditional support.

We should give our best attention to the sick, even if we are busy.

Keith Cheng, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School, Sheung Shui

We depend too much on high technology

We live in an increasingly hi-tech society. We enjoy the convenience that technology brings, from electronic gadgets to transport. With today's most advanced technology, we are able to do a lot more things without much effort.

However, as we depend more on technology we see side effects.

People aren't willing to exercise. Most prefer air conditioning to doing outdoor activities. A student will not write if he can type. And why get up when you can use a remote control?

Lack of exercise has made us fat and more vulnerable to disease.

Is mankind trapped in the convenience of technology?

Yim Wing-man

What makes a city world-class?

Newspapers often rank cities. But there are lots of qualities to consider, for example, affordable medical care, cultural activities and equal opportunities.

Good social welfare should be a basic right. Governments should help residents make ends meet. Otherwise, some will get left out.

It is long-sighted to have a rounded social welfare system. It can attract immigrants. Hong Kong provides free education to its citizens, so many mainland mothers come to the city to give birth, and their children become residents.

What's more, a good social welfare system can make a place popular. A city with political stability can develop fast.

A good social welfare system can provide equal opportunities for children to learn. Hong Kong helps its students with books and school fees, and even a free computer.

The second important quality is affordable medical care. People are afraid of hospitals on the mainland, as the prices at public hospitals there are so high that it costs at least HK$500 to treat a sore throat.

If locals cannot pay the fees, they may not be able to work.

The last important quality is a fair legal system. It helps attract more international companies.

Hong Kong's legal system has helped it become a financial centre.

Tiffany Yu Yik-tung, Leung Shek Chee College