• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 2:54pm

Letters to the Editor, March 31, 2013

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 31 March, 2013, 2:08am

Sensible law required on light pollution

A study by the University of Hong Kong has revealed how serious a problem light pollution has become in Hong Kong ("Light pollution in HK 'worst on planet'", March 20).

The worst reading taken by the survey team at the Space Museum in Tsim Sha Tsui was "1,200 times the International Astronomical Union standard".

It is clear that legislation is required to deal with this problem, although some say passing laws is a complex process and adopting a voluntary approach is a good compromise.

However, with so many stakeholders involved, it is difficult to reach a consensus. Some businesses will argue that they would lose sales if they had to switch off external lights after 11pm.

By opposing controls they ignore the health risks to citizens from light pollution such as disruption to the body clock.

I agree with those environmental groups which argue that the situation will not improve without legislation.

Any law should strike the right balance so the interests of business people are taken into account and regulations are put in force which deal effectively with the problem.

Janice Leung, Ma On Shan


Danger in LED bulbs more than 'gossip'

I refer to the letter by Ralph Bishop ("Don't buy into the myth of 'toxic' LEDs", March 24) in reply to my letter ("Clear evidence 'green lighting' is harmful", March 17).

He is unenlightened about actual medical findings when he tries to dismiss as "gossip" medical evidence that compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) and LED light bulbs are harmful to human health.

Mr Bishop claims there is no medical evidence linking CFL and LEDs to ill health. My letter provided references to doctors, optometrists and patients showing that CFL and LED lighting cause mental and physical harm to humans.

And I did not say LEDs contain mercury. It is CFLs that contain mercury vapour and other cancer-causing toxins. LEDs contain a number of other toxins, namely arsenic, lead and a dozen more potentially hazardous substances which have been linked to various cancers, brain damage, hypertension, skin rashes, and other illnesses.

People are not being informed about the harmful toxins, flicker rates, radiation and light spectrum from CFL and LED bulbs. This is why all bulbs need proper labelling for all toxins and all aspects of performance.

Rather than looking at 60-watt bulbs running for a few hours a day in homes, those genuinely concerned about reducing energy consumption should focus on 2,300-watt air conditioners and CFLs left running all day in poorly designed shopping malls, offices and government buildings.

Those campaigning to ban incandescent bulbs should reduce their own energy consumption by giving up luxury items such as cars, plane trips and air conditioning.

A number of people need incandescent lighting, and they often have lifestyles that consume far less energy than the jet-setting socialites wanting to force their CFLs and LEDs on everyone else.

Those dismissing, as gossip, specific medical evidence that CFL and LED lighting harms some humans are ill-informed.

Dr Robert Hanson Tseung Kwan O


Wearing fur is no worse than eating meat

There is an ongoing debate about whether or not women should wear fur coats.

Fur coats have been popular fashion items for a very long time. They make women look attractive and I do not see what is wrong with them.

Critics say that it is cruel to kill animals for their fur. However, many of these same people see nothing wrong with the killing of millions of animals every year for their meat.

Why don't those groups and individuals who mount protests over people who wear fur stand outside restaurants and butcher shops?

I am also concerned that some activists go too far and take actions which are violent in nature. When protesting they will sometimes ruin someone's fur coat. So if you object to a particular book, is it justifiable to tear it up even though someone else sees nothing wrong with reading it?

People are entitled to their views and they are equally entitled to wear clothes made out of fur if they wish and they have the money to pay for them.

Protesters who damage or ruin someone's property such as a fur coat, set a bad example to young people who might think such actions are acceptable.

There are better ways for these activists to make their point.

Winnie Kwan, Ho Man Tin


Caverns plan a good way to free up land

I refer to the report about the consultation process for the government's possible cavern development and six reclamation schemes ("Caverns could free up extra land for homes", March 22).

I support the idea and believe that it can relieve our land shortage problems.

Hong Kong is a densely-populated city and governments have always found housing issues difficult to deal with.

The limited amount of land available has contributed to rocketing property prices, affecting many residents. The government's proposals over caverns and reclamation are a response to demands from Hongkongers to deal with our housing problems.

If public facilities are moved inside caverns in hillsides, the administration will be able to make more efficient use of precious land resources.

The whole process may be time-consuming but reclamation is also a strategy that I would support as a long-term way of alleviating shortages on the property market.

Critics have argued it will be too expensive and that reclamation could threaten some marine species.

On the second point, it is important to strike the right balance between protecting the environment and development needs.

The administration will have to conduct a comprehensive environmental impact assessment to see if any planned reclamation project could cause irreparable damage to marine organisms. Officials will also have to ensure that the caverns are properly ventilated so that they do not pose a public health risk.

The simple truth is there is growing public discontent and our housing policies have to change.

Cathy Li, Tsuen Wan


Tung Chung development makes sense

I think the proposal to develop a new commercial zone on Lantau, at Tung Chung, as a way of diverting tourists from some of Hong Kong's most overcrowded districts is feasible and has a number of advantages.

Tung Chung is perfectly located near Hong Kong International Airport.

Many visitors arriving by air would be likely to come to this new town, because it is so convenient.

It would save them time compared to travelling to the centre of the city.

There is also room for development in the Tung Chung area given that there has been little expansion the last 10 years. At present it is well below the final target population.

This means there is plenty of room for visitors and for the development of a new commercial zone which would attract them.

This zone would also help local residents. The town is some distance from urban Hong Kong and Tung Chung residents have to endure long commute times if they work on Hong Kong Island or in Kowloon side.

With new shopping malls there would be a lot more job opportunities for these local people. But obviously a commercial zone in Tung Chung would need the support of these residents to ensure that it was feasible.

Susie Li Po-yi, Tai Wai


Recycle items taken away in black bags

I read with interest your report regarding the government's subcontracted staff mixing together separated waste for recycling in Wan Chai and Causeway Bay ("Cleaners dump waste for recycling", March 17).

In Mui Wo, on Lantau, I have also seen this practice at the rubbish collection point.

When I asked staff why they were taking rubbish from the metal, plastic and paper recycling bins and putting them all together in black bin bags, they responded that they take these bags back to their offices to separate again. This claim seems implausible.

I find this situation very frustrating, particularly as washing, separating and recycling rubbish takes considerable effort and time on the part of the public.

These efforts are wasted, it seems, because the subcontracted rubbish collectors do not appreciate the importance of minimising damage to our planet, and reducing waste in landfills.

Perhaps the government should have better control over subcontractors, or should at least make it their responsibility to educate those involved in rubbish collection.

Esther Houghton, Lantau


More on this story

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

@Winnie Kwan, Ho Man Tin
I hope one day that you may experience being locked in a small uncomfortable cage and then face the likelihood of being skinned alive.
Men could look quite attractive in dead women's skins.
I agree with Susie that Tung Chung would make a great place for tourism. However she mentions something that actually is wrong. Tung Chung is not far from Hong Kong island. Tung Chung to central is far shorter than tai wai to central. It is just 27 minutes to central. Also just 27 minutes to TST if you switch trains at nam Chung. It is also very close if you want to go to Olympic, Mong kok and Kowloon stations. People probably don't know that if you get off at Olympic and walk through the mall you come out across the street of langum place (kong kok).
Tung Chung is only far from east NT, east Kowloon, and east HK island. Everything else is very close.
I lived in TC for 8 years and then moved to central Kowloon. I only realized when I moved to Kowloon that it actually takes longer to get to central.
Between Tung Chung and sunny bay will become a unique tourist destination.
Agree with Ms Winnie Chan that activists can find better ways to make their point but laughed a bit at her comment that fur "makes women look attractive." In many cases of fur wearing humans, it's a bit like lipstick on a pig, no?
Re: Recycle items taken away in black bags
Esther Houghton is right not to trust the reply of cleaners who claimed that they’d take the rubbish bags to their offices to separate again.
A lot of these bags are dumped in the hillside, hidden underneath foliage. After my complaints, some along Lugard Road have been cleared. But others have yet to be retrieved, such as those along Governor’s Walk and between Conduit Road and Po Shan Road, at locations I reported and later confirmed by a responsible government officer.
I’d consider the contract-out of street cleaning a failure, comparing conditions under government cleaners and under contract cleaners. Some overseers (civil servants who supervise cleaners) are not doing their job at all. When I spoke with the one responsible for Western Mid-Levels, he couldn’t tell Conduit Road from Caine Road, both belonging to his portfolio.
The contractors are paid to sweep the streets twice a day. But some cleaners often would sweep perfunctorily once perhaps every three or four days.
A word of praise to the new cleaner of the park at the end of Harlech Path below West High. She keeps it very clean whereas the previous cleaner ignored the litters all over the place.
Responsible authorities should clean up the empty water bottles that are littered along Governor Walk tracing the movement of the street light cable replacement site.
Winnie Kwan argues that wearing fur is no worse than eating meat (SCMP Letters, 31/3), and in some ways she is probably right. The global factory farming industry means that millions of animals are raised for food in what can only be described as inhumane conditions. Similarly, the fur industry has a brutal track record and they prefer to keep consumers uninformed about how that divinely soft pelt on a designer coat, or the fluffy fur trim on a new jacket, was manufactured. If more consumers knew that a large percentage of those furs came from animals who were skinned alive – many in fur factories throughout China – they may not be so eager to choose fur as a clothing option. It is estimated that more than 50 million animals are violently killed in the name of fashion every year. Some are caught in barbaric traps. Others are raised in appalling conditions on fur farms before being skinned while conscious. So perhaps before complaining about animal activists protesting about the fur industry, the defenders of fur should pay a visit to a site such as YouTube and watch a video clip of a Chinese fur factory, at which point they may understand why fur farming is probably one of the most unconscionable industries in existence.


SCMP.com Account