Letters to the Editor, February 26, 2013
Restricted access vital at reserve
I refer to the letter by Steve Garton ("Wonderful marine park hard to reach", February 16).
I would like to clarify that Cape D'Aguilar Marine Reserve, that lies in the south-eastern tip of Hong Kong Island, is the only marine reserve in Hong Kong, which is different from a marine park.
The marine reserve not only has a rich biodiversity, including numerous kinds of fish, stony corals, soft corals, gorgonian and marine invertebrates, but also geological and geomorphological value.
It is designated solely for conservation, scientific and educational studies. Although public access is not totally denied, only permitted vehicles are allowed to enter the area.
The stringent control of access is for the better protection of this ecologically important habitat.
As the place is not intended to be for recreational use of the general public, water sports and coastal activities are prohibited. On the other hand, a marine park covers a much larger area of sea that is planned for both conservation and recreation. These parks are usually more accessible.
Activities compatible with the objectives of marine parks and non-destructive to the marine environment, such as swimming, scuba diving, canoeing, sailing and underwater photography, are generally allowed.
At present, there are four marine parks in Hong Kong, namely Hoi Ha Wan, Yan Chau Tong, Tung Ping Chau, and Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau Marine Park.
Alan Chan, senior marine parks officer, Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department
Burning waste better than using landfills
An incinerator should be built as fast as possible in Hong Kong as our landfills are nearing capacity.
It is the best option when it comes to reducing volumes of rubbish and will slow down landfill saturation. This is why the government has said that the plant is needed.
However, despite what officials have said there are still many citizens who disagree because they do not want the incinerator to be constructed in their district, fearing that it could harm people's health with dioxins.
While there may be some emissions, it is claimed by those supporting it that any emissions from the proposed plant would conform to World Health Organisation standards.
Landfills are not sustainable and take up a lot of space. We can free up and make better use of areas of Hong Kong if an incinerator is built.
Alva Hui Wing-man, Tai Wai
Expansion plan is unfair to residents
The government wants to expand the West New Territories landfill in Tuen Mun.
I think such a proposal would be unfair to Tuen Mun residents.
They have had to deal with air pollution problems and bad odours for many years and with an expanded site things can only get worse for them.
I am also worried about possible water pollution.
Hong Kong does have a waste problem, but volumes of waste can only be reduced at source. One way to do this is for the government to extend the recycling bin scheme.
More of these bins should be placed in public areas and public housing estates.
We citizens can also play an important role in trying to protect our environment.
We should choose goods when shopping that have less packaging.
We also need to ask ourselves more often if we really need to purchase a product.
If citizens and corporations try harder to be environmentally friendly we may no longer need landfills.
Amy Yim Pik-yu, Sha Tin
Education can help us throw away less food
I believe that most of the litter generated by Hongkongers is kitchen waste.
Everyone is responsible for this, including restaurants and families in their own homes.
One of the worst culprits is the buffet, which is so popular with Hongkongers.
I think few people are aware of the amount of kitchen waste they make.
I do not think building an incinerator or having a waste-charge scheme are the best ways to deal with this problem.
The key is education, making people appreciate how much of this kind of waste they are discarding on a daily basis.
An incinerator will not help them develop good habits and a household charge will fail to deal with problem of waste generated by restaurants. Citizens must learn to treasure food and become less wasteful.
Cathy Fung, Mong Kok
Confrontation is a cause for concern
I refer to Alex Lo's column ("A small-minded view of mainlanders", February 18).
The problems mainland visitors have created for locals cannot be denied.
Although it is rude and inappropriate for protesters to hurl abuse at mainland visitors, citizens still need to make their views known to the government, but this must be done in a peaceful and legal manner. The economy of Hong Kong is heavily reliant on the rest of China. The mainland is our biggest trading partner but does it mean that we have no say over what happens in our home?
Hongkongers are not saying ban all mainland visitors, but we want to have enough formula milk powder for babies, reasonable property prices and small stores owned by local people.
It is not logical to compare Hong Kong to other cities because no other place has such a large influx of mainlanders. With purchases of properties, luxury goods and some daily necessities, they create problems for Hongkongers.
It is worrying to see society becoming polarised. You have protesters shouting abuse at mainland tourists and pro-Beijing groups shouting at the protesters.
Arguing and shouting will not solve the problems we face. It is better to nip the problem in the bud. The government should review the policy of multiple-entry permits of Shenzhen residents under the individual visit scheme and consider building a shopping mall near the border to alleviate the overcrowding problem in town. This will create jobs for residents in the northern part of the New Territories.
It must act swiftly to find solutions or cross-border tensions will get worse.
Solomon Lam Chun-yin, Tsuen Wan
Help migrants to join city's workforce
In the past few years more mainlanders have been migrating to Hong Kong.
Some of them are mothers married to Hong Kong citizens.
I would like to see the government coming up with long-term policies to help them, such as providing training and babysitting services so that they can find jobs and join the city's workforce.
With the right kind of training courses they can learn new skills or improve those they already have.
This can enable them to earn higher wages as many migrant families suffer from poverty.
If there were adequate babysitting services then they could go to work knowing that their children were being properly looked after.
These services will be of particular help to recent migrants from north of the border.
Terrance Ng, Sha Tin