Letters to the Editor, February 19, 2014

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 February, 2014, 3:44am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 February, 2014, 3:44am

Landfills won't solve HK's waste problem

I refer to the letter by Edmund Chen ("Incinerator seems sound option for HK", February 10).

I agree that the expansion of landfills (to handle Hong Kong's waste) should be a non-starter, and that for recycling to be successful it must be made profitable.

Mr Chen states confidently that the Environment Bureau is up to speed on technological developments in waste management in other places.

However, it is abundantly clear from the barrage of letters that the Environmental Protection Department has not convinced the community that incineration is the only or best solution, or that Shek Kwu Chau is a suitable location for such facilities.

Correspondents consistently show frustration at the department's intransigence in the face of information that Hong Kong is planning its waste disposal future on yesterday's technology, and that the location was selected not for wide practical reasons but for narrow political concerns.

It appears that the department has overcommitted to a massive incineration project, and in true bureaucratic fashion doggedly refuses to review.

Many environmentalists held high hopes that the current secretary for the environment and his deputy would be able to lead Hong Kong to "higher ground", but it seems that our bureaucracy is a quagmire for new ideas. Does Mr Chen realise that the "sound option" of incineration still creates pollutants, cannot handle hazardous waste, and much residue must still be sent to landfills?

To the contrary, the more recent and advanced technology of plasma gasification does not hold these drawbacks.

The co-combustion of municipal solid waste for cement production and electricity generation also eliminates the need for landfill extensions.

Our environmental officials should come clean on why they are stubbornly shunning these better options which obviate landfills.

Is it the case that contracts that are related to the incineration plant at Shek Kwu Chau have already been agreed and signed off?

Your correspondent's idea to "build landfills on some outlying islands" is thoroughly rotten.

K. Y. Leung, Shouson Hill


HK press freedom must be protected

Hong Kong's freedom of speech is facing an unprecedented challenge. It makes us reflect on the role of mass media in monitoring the government - whether it has become a mouthpiece of the government to seize control over the "rebellious" public.

No one has given a satisfactory or convincing explanation for the abrupt dismissal of Li Wei-ling from Commercial Radio.

It makes me worry that we are being put under the cloud bit by bit, and eventually, we will all be flooded by the absolute control of the government.

We can't overlook this case, since the worst is yet to come, and it is always good to prepare the house before it rains.

Christina Wong, Kwai Tsing


Japan does not accept its guilty war role

I refer to Mr Alex Lo's column "Burden of history weighs on all of us" (February 13).

Japan can quite easily lift its people from its burden of war guilt if it wants to and be "normal".

Not by force of re-militarisation, visits to Yasukuni or coercion of its hapless teachers and students by falsifying history textbooks, but by force of moral courage in repenting for its war crimes.

It may be ventured that Japan does not accept guilt because it does not accept defeat. It does not accept defeat in the excuse that its army was not beaten on Japan's home ground as Nazi Germany's army was, nor was Tokyo taken by force of arms as Berlin was.

Of course, in this regard Japan's leaders are deluding themselves to this day.

With air cover non-existent, its navy decimated and supplies cut off, were the Allies to invade, Japan's army would certainly have been crushed and Tokyo taken. Without backup from its homeland, Japan's armies in China and elsewhere would likewise have been isolated and routed.

The suffering of Japan's population at large, while not to be belittled, pales against the torment and agony inflicted by Japan on the people of the countries it invaded, as well as on Allied prisoners, military and civilian. These people and prisoners are the ones who in fact endured the "unendurable", and bore the "unbearable" to see Japan defeated.

For the monumental and heinous atrocities Japan perpetrated, it was found guilty by the Tokyo war crimes trials.

W. L. Chang, Discovery Bay


Air con not needed when mercury drops

During the recent spell of cold weather, I lost count of the number of trains, shopping centres, cinemas and restaurants I went to where the air conditioning was on high to make the surroundings even more frigid and uncomfortable than outside. The people who run these facilities are spending considerable sums to add to Hong Kong's air pollution, contribute to climate change and drive customers away.

If this is sane behaviour, then I should be locked in a mental hospital as soon as possible.

Warren Russell, Tseung Kwan O


Athletes know what's best for their bodies

In his Left Field column on February 16 ("No need for a team doctor"), Alvin Sallay said Mr Baron Lui was a poor loser by suggesting that he might have performed better at Sochi if he had the attention of a team doctor. Mr Sallay also said that a strong official presence is needed as Hong Kong has only until 2047 to establish itself as a separate Olympic nation.

As an elite athlete, Mr Lui knows his own body and its capability when at its peak. Although there's no guarantee that Mr Lui he would have made it onto the winner's podium, it was clear that he felt he had a chance if he had received personalised medical support.

I understand that Hong Kong Olympian Lee Lai-shan was provided with medical support during her medal quest. Mr Lui should have been afforded the same. Mr Sallay should be reminded that the standard of competition at the Olympics has changed significantly since the 1970s and that there wouldn't be a need for Hong Kong delegates to lobby the IOC if Hong Kong did not have Olympic-standard athletes such as Mr Lui.

Helen Cheung, Ho Man Tin


TVB Olympic coverage is not up to scratch

When in early February TVB grandly announced that it would be providing extensive coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics, one was tempted to hope that finally the citizens of Asia's World City would be afforded the viewing that is more or less taken for granted in any other location on the Pacific Rim, from Japan to New Zealand, where extensive viewing is provided.

But alas, and true to form, we have been presented with the most puerile and abjectly wretched viewing of the events. Not content with limiting the time slots, we have to endure much of the precious time being taken up with the most appalling standard of interviewing of the athletes, with questions of kindergarten simplicity.

What pea brain is responsible for this lunacy, one might reasonably ask, and when will Hong Kong finally measure up to standards set elsewhere?

Antony Wood, Quarry Bay