Hawkers do not care about food hygiene and add to city's pollution problems

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 October, 2011, 12:00am


People have widely divergent opinions about hawkers selling food. Some say they should not be allowed to sell food on the streets as there are no regulations to protect consumers while others argue they have a right to earn a living. I support the former view.

I think these food hawkers pose a threat to public hygiene and the government does not have the resources to regulate them.

There is no way to check all of them and ensure their food is safe to eat. And many of these vendors ignore the correct food hygiene rules. If customers become ill it is difficult for them to complain or seek compensation as the hawkers do not have fixed stalls and it is not like a restaurant where you get a receipt as proof of purchase. These vendors also do not follow the correct procedure for disposing of food waste. They will simply dump it in the street and pour dirty water down the drain.

This refuse gives off a bad smell and adversely affects Hong Kong's image as a cosmopolitan city. The foul water blocks drains and causes problems for the Drainage Services Department and the general public. Also, because of a lack of regulation hawkers can overcharge customers and some people might not be aware that they are being cheated.

These vendors also cause noise pollution as they shout in an effort to attract customers. Hongkongers are under a lot of pressure at work. They do not want to have to listen to loud vendors from stalls when they are in the street.

Some of these food hawkers say that they are just trying to earn a living and they would rather do this than rely on social welfare payments. They argue that the government is being heartless by stopping them from plying their trade. But without proper rules and guidelines, these hawkers do more harm than good to society. Implementing the necessary regulations would be a time-consuming and costly process. And once they came into force, officers from the relevant government department would have be deployed to check the hawkers were adhering to the rules. This would be a waste of resources.

The administration has already established vocational training courses for citizens who have no qualifications and would like to learn new skills. People who are struggling to make ends meet can sign up for these courses.

In order to ensure a healthy environment, these hawkers should not be allowed to operate in Hong Kong.

Charleen Poon, Tsuen Wan