Letters to the Editor, April 24, 2014
Some civil servants can avoid station
I agree with Frank Lee that the Admiralty MTR station platform for the northbound Tsuen Wan Line is dangerously overcrowded ("Plans to ease congestion on MTR flawed", April 16).
Frustratingly, the carriage doors open and close repeatedly because of the squeeze.
The MTR Corporation has said it will have extra staff to strengthen platform management, but even if it supplies them with cattle prods I cannot see that they will be able to herd many more passengers onto those trains, or keep them from fouling the closing doors.
This is especially true when many of the tourist passengers are lugging suitcases full of shopping.
One major contributing factor to the evening rush-hour crush at the Kowloon- bound platform at Admiralty is the influx of civil servants from the new government headquarters at Tamar.
A possible solution to limiting the crush is for the government to direct that Kowloon-bound civil servants upon finishing their day must avoid the MTR at Admiralty. They should be "encouraged" (arm-twisted) to walk along the new Central waterfront to the MTR's under-utilised Tung Chung Line or under-worked Star Ferry.
After sitting all day in the office this detour should make a pleasant excursion.
J. F. Kay, Lai Chi Kok
Look beyond short-term solutions
I refer to the letter by Kerensa Kwun Ting-yan ("Landfills and incinerator are essential", April 20).
The waste problem has to be dealt with effectively in Hong Kong. Expanding landfills and constructing incinerators are just short-term policies.
The former strategy will simply extend the landfills for a number of years but they will eventually reach capacity.
We need to look at the root cause of the problem, that is, Hong Kong citizens. We are the people who generate these large volumes of waste.
We all need to learn to follow the 3Rs rule - reduce, reuse, recycle. It is easy to make this a habit in our daily lives.
If everyone in Hong Kong generates less waste, there will be less pressure on the landfills.
Edmond Chan, Tseung Kwan O
Get tough with Shanghai residents
I refer to the article by Alice Yan ("Education is the best weapon in fighting public apathy over recycling", April 19) about trying to get Shanghai residents to recycle waste.
I question those who see education as the best way to change residents' habits.
The authorities have been trying to get the message across about environmental protection for decades. It is an issue frequently raised by China's leaders. It is even part of Shanghai's developmental strategy.
Urging people to embrace environmental protection is a wonderful idea, but the message is not getting through. People become impervious to being constantly urged to recognise the risks they face from a deteriorating environment and seldom take any action.
Laws and regulations with no teeth fail to have the desired effect. However, tight supervision of recycling rules and punishment for those who contravene them can work.
I would suggest that each household is given two rubbish bags, one for recyclable waste, the other for disposable refuse. All households leave the two bags outside their door every morning and cleaners collect them.
Once they catch residents not categorising rubbish properly, they should be reported and face punishment.
Also, as cleaners will have a heavier workload, they should have an increase in salary.
Wang Yuke, Tai Wai
Special police unit could curb animal abuse
Instances of animal cruelty in Hong Kong seem to be on the rise, with abuse frequently resulting in injury and sometimes death.
Most of the targets are stray dogs and cats.
In a case last week in Tsuen Wan, six cats were found dead on the rooftops of two tenement buildings and may have been poisoned.
In many cases perpetrators are not found and the law in Hong Kong is failing to protect animals.
There is a low number of convictions as it is often hard to find those responsible and because the definition of animal cruelty in Hong Kong is broad. The law defines such cruelty as action or inaction of a person that causes unnecessary suffering to an animal.
Also, enforcement agencies do not have enough power. Although penalties were increased in 2006, sentences are still too light.
The government could introduce an animal police unit to investigate, arrest and prosecute crimes of animal abuse. Alternatively, it could simply increase penalties and strengthen law enforcement.
We have a responsibility to protect animals and live in harmony with them.
Yeung Sze-nga, Kowloon Tong
Now TV's recording ban unacceptable
I attempted several times over a 24-hour period earlier this month to record programmes from various Now TV channels without success.
I contacted the technical support department of the firm that makes my recording device only to learn that the problem lies with Now TV, which has decided to introduce encrypted screening of programmes to prevent copyright violations. A phone call to PCCW, that was surprisingly promptly answered, confirmed this.
So, to prevent the entire wretched Now TV audience of Hong Kong recording programmes for their own viewing convenience in their own homes, Now TV has decided to introduce an encrypted format to allay fears that we may be copying old episodes of Blackadder and selling them across the border. Talk about using a steamroller, rather than a sledgehammer, to crack a nut.
I'm not sure whether the terms of its licence allow it to do this but it wouldn't happen in other civilised cities. I can find nothing in my contract with Now TV that permits it to do this.
I have already lodged a complaint with the Communications Authority, and will be interested to know how many other readers will react when they find that Now TV has acted arbitrarily to prevent them from recording programmes for their own convenience and enjoyment in the name of preventing copyright violation.
David Grant, Discovery Bay
Natural gas is the cleaner option for HK
The Hong Kong government has been looking at energy supply options for the future.
Two options it has highlighted are buying more electricity from the mainland or using more natural gas.
I would rather officials choose to use more natural gas. With this option I believe there would be greater stability with regard to price and supply of electricity.
If, on the other hand, when Hong Kong buys electricity from the mainland ["grid purchase"], the supply may not be so stable and may not always satisfy the demand of such a densely populated and highly developed city as Hong Kong.
If there was a sudden and steep hike in electricity prices on the mainland, this could directly affect Hong Kong citizens.
I support greater use of natural gas, because it is more environmentally friendly than coal and it would not demand as much in the way of infrastructure as buying electricity from the mainland.
Critics will say that natural gas is more expensive. Even if that is the case, I believe it is better to pay more, for the sake of our environment and to ensure a stable supply of energy.
If we get more energy from across the border then it means that more coal will be burned in power stations on the mainland and this will adversely affect air quality there and in the SAR.
Besides discussing these issues, the government should also be looking into the use of renewable energy in Hong Kong, such as hydroelectricity and biofuel.
Wong Siu-yuk, Kowloon Tong
Save energy by using fans in summer
Many years ago you could still see the stars sparkling in the night sky above Hong Kong.
Also, you could breathe clean air in rural and urban areas. But, this is no longer the case and we are all now aware of the deteriorating air quality, especially at roadside level when we are walking next to roads with heavy traffic.
Our air pollution problems have also been exacerbated by emissions from factories operating in the Pearl River Delta region. However, we cannot just blame traffic and mainland plants for higher levels of air pollution.
Coal-fired power stations generate energy to meet the heavy demand for electricity in this city and this can make air pollution worse.
In this regard, we are all responsible because of our lifestyles and the amounts of electricity we use.
We all have a responsibility to think about this and to try and use less electricity in our homes every day. For example, during the hot months we can try to use electric fans instead of air conditioners.
Annie Mak, Sha Tin