PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 April, 2012, 12:00am


City will benefit from third runway

I think it is essential that we construct a third runway at the airport.

Over the next 20 years I believe we will see an increasing demand for usage of Chek Lap Kok by airlines.

Economically, we face fierce competition within the region, Singapore being one example.

If do not move forward we will be overtaken by these competitors and lose our status as an international transport hub.

Also the construction and operation of this runway will create more jobs. I accept that the unemployment rate in Hong Kong is low compared to many other economies, but we always need to create job opportunities for people.

Critics talk about the threat to the environment.

I accept that it will do some harm to habitats, but the government has made it clear that it will attempt to implement measures to mitigate the effects of the project, especially with regard to the Chinese white dolphins.

I believe that if you look at all the issues in depth the advantages of going ahead with this project outweigh the disadvantages.

The cost of construction could be paid by a levy which could lead to higher airfares. But I think we have to consider the long-term benefits to Hong Kong's economy of having this third runway, especially when we consider the increased revenue from tourism.

Gabriel Lee, Sha Tin

Very pricey car park at airport

The recent decision to proceed with the construction of a third runway at Hong Kong's airport is a potentially splendid decision if it can be built quickly enough.

When many of the world's airlines have either gone bust or significantly downsized due to rising fuel prices, the third runway will make a superb park-and-ride car park for all the mainland drivers who wish to visit Hong Kong in their vehicles provided they can afford the fuel to run them.

For those readers who think I'm simply being sardonic, I currently earn my living visiting remote and dreadful places in support of an organisation whose job it is to find oil and gas in such locations because there is no longer any easy low-hanging carbon energy fruit to be picked. It's more difficult and dangerous to find and extract and the price is going to continue going up. I wish my day rate would do the same.

In a recent Bloomberg article, referring to Emirates Airlines the Dubai-based carrier's president said he could think of a 'load of airlines that are teetering on the brink or are really gone.' He said if you moved forward to Christmas, 'another eight or nine months, and we're going to see this industry in serious trouble'. Politicians and businessmen lie about this matter because the morons they need for their survival (voters and customers) don't want to hear the truth.

Go ahead, build the car park.

Mark Ranson, Sai Kung

Arriving visitors face long queues

If Chek Lap Kok gets a third run- way, as your editorial suggested it should ('Third runway will give HK the edge', March 23), is there any chance the Immigration Department will open more passport counters to process arriving visitors?

The queues at for visitors, are the worst anywhere is Asia and render the airport's excellent infrastructure irrelevant.

Steve Armstrong, Singapore

Vegan diet is best for environment

Turning off the lights for Earth Hour yesterday would have made for a nice romantic meal, but if people really want to help combat climate change, they should stop eating meat, eggs or dairy products.

Animals products require more resources and cause more greenhouse-gas emissions than plant-based foods.

According to Worldwatch Institute president Robert Engelman, the 'world's supersized appetite for meat' is one of the main reasons why greenhouse-gas emissions are still increasing rapidly.

Each year, humans kill 50 billion land animals for food. All these animals produce massive amounts of waste, which releases powerful greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.

The livestock sector is one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide and the single largest source of methane and nitrous oxide, greenhouse gases that are 25 and 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, respectively.

A study from Germany's Institute for Ecological Economy Research shows a meat-eater's diet is responsible for seven times more greenhouse gases than a vegan's diet.

In future, during Earth Hour, I encourage people to cook a veggie burger. Doing so will benefit not only the environment but also animals and human health.

Jason Baker, vice-president of international campaigns, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Asia

Minimum wage at the right level

Research has shown that the minimum wage has made a difference for people on low incomes and some unionists would like to see it increased from HK$28 to HK$33. I do not think this would be a good idea.

A higher minimum wage would lead to increased costs for employers and those costs could be passed on to consumers. You might even see some firms go out of business.

If prices go up then this could lead to higher inflation and this would cancel out the minimum wage pay rise for employees.

Also, with a higher wage the workplace would become more competitive. Older employees who are less skilled could find themselves pushed out. The proportion of these older workers in the job market would be reduced and this is not good for a society with an ageing population.

At present the Hong Kong economy is not strong enough to deal with an increase of the present minimum wage level.

Joanna Ku Hiu-yi, Tsuen Wan

Rugby perfect for Philippines

How interesting to learn that rugby was recently popularised in the Philippines by means of sexy billboard photos of the male players ('How a nude photo raised game in the Philippines', March 24).

Naturally, conservative quarters like the Catholic Church soon quashed that move, but no doubt other outlets were found to promote the game.

For a country of small-statured people, it's always been absurd to find basketball as the national sport.

That came from the colonial mentality which aped that particular American sport, which is why basketball courts can be found all over the country. And for a long time, basketball teams imported tall American athletes.

So now it's interesting to see that the Philippine Volcanoes rugby team from Manila which was playing in Hong Kong for the first time in the Rugby Sevens last weekend is composed mainly of mestizos (mixed race males).

Indeed rugby makes much more sense for short Asian players. And after watching the thrilling Sevens match between the terrific female athletes from Australia and England, one hopes Filipino women will also take up this sport and compete overseas.

Renata Lopez, Wan Chai

Waste levy will hurt poor families

I do not think that the levy suggested by Friends of the Earth for the proposed waste charge scheme would be fair. The group has come up with a sum of HK$1.30 per bag of rubbish disposed of, amounting to HK$40 a month for a typical family.

This would seem to be fair as it is an across-the-board charge. But the sum of HK$40 is a lot of money for a poor family, as a portion of their overall budget.

For rich households it is a tiny amount. For that reason I would regard this as an unfair levy and I can see it widening the gap between rich and poor and leading to the poor in society having to deal with an even heavier financial burden.

Also, as it will not hurt those on high incomes, it will hardly act as a deterrent. They can easily afford to pay for the disposal of more bags of refuse than poor families.

This sends the wrong message to society and to young people.

That is a shame as we want to instil the right attitude in your young people so that they deal responsibly with the disposal of refuse in the future.

I think there should be a sliding scale, with people being charged different amounts depending on their income levels.

Cyrus Li, Sha Tin