Letters to the Editor, June 29, 2015

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 June, 2015, 12:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 June, 2015, 12:01am

Revive green tradition that has died out

Mok Sze-lam makes a good suggestion in the letter, "McDonald's wastes so much paper" (June 17), calling for the fast food giant to have reusable utensils.

It has already trimmed back on its use of styrofoam by using paper wrapping. At least this is a step towards creating a greener world.

I also like the idea of coffee shops which give you a discount if you bring your own mug.

Actually, many places serving food use paper bags or plates instead of the plastic variety. However, the problem with stores supplying too many paper bags is that a lot more trees are felled and obviously we want to save forests.

Many years ago, Hongkongers used to bring their own pots with them from home when they were purchasing takeaway food.

I realise this may seem a bit old-fashioned, like something from another era, and people may laugh at it in this day and age. I do not see any reason not to revive this practice, given that we have an environment that is deteriorating.

I wonder if some people have thought about bringing their own containers when they go to a takeaway food shop and if the shop would accept it.

I regularly order lunch from a neighbourhood restaurant and provide it with a container, so at least in my case, one less styrofoam box is wasted.

People keep saying the environment is getting worse, but never seem to realise that we are all to blame for this.

Cecilia Chan, Quarry Bay

Large firms must be more eco-friendly

I refer to the letter by Maldivesa Lee ("McDonald's not alone in being wasteful", June 22).

There are certainly other fast food restaurants which do not appear to be making any effort to minimise waste, such as KFC and Pizza Hut.

Our government has not made any genuine effort to educate the community to use fewer disposable utensils and containers and less paper. Environmental education should start early in childhood, through parents and teachers, so young people cultivate good habits and grow up trying to reduce the volumes of waste they generate.

Our large companies and corporations also have a role to play. They may talk about being environmentally friendly, but seldom practise what they preach. In some of the stations on the MTR Corporation's newer lines I have not seen auto start-stop escalators (staying stationary until someone uses them). And all areas are fully illuminated at all times.

I would be interested to know if more environmentally friendly measures have been implemented at the recently opened stations on the West Island Line.

Surely the MTR Corp should, where possible, be using less electricity, given the pollution caused by coal-fired power stations.

Also, it is essential that Hongkongers try to recycle, as much as possible, glass and plastic bottles and use less water. There should be a citywide glass bottle bank network and a purpose-built recycling plant that can take it all and use it.

However, while I support green initiatives, the suggestion by Mok Sze-lam ("McDonald's wastes so much paper", June 17) for McDonald's and other fast food restaurants to have china cups and saucers is impractical and expensive.

A. L. Nanik, Tsim Sha Tsui

Time to bring back service with a smile

I am concerned about the deteriorating quality of the service industry in Hong Kong.

In a recent survey, the city ranked 39 out of 41 countries or regions in a "smiling index".

I think this decline is linked to our economic environment. Hong Kong has a reputation as a food and shopping paradise and so attracts a lot of tourists. However, many companies in the service sector do not employ enough staff. This often means that employees have to put in long hours and face a heavy workload. Often they face 12-hour shifts.

When you are working such gruelling hours, you are hardly likely to smile.

If this situation continues, it could hurt the tourist sector and, in turn, Hong Kong's economy.

Frontline staff have direct contact with tourists. For many visitors, these people are their first impression of Hong Kong. Therefore, we should have a high-quality service sector and people who are welcoming to tourists.

There has to be a better allocation of labour resources in this sector so that the development of the tourism sector stays on track.

The necessary improvements must be made in the services sector.

Ella Choi Wing-ue, Kowloon Tong 

Heritage revamps must be relevant

I refer to the letter by Pang Chi-ming ("Project shows vibrant heritage policy", June 17) in response to my letter ("We miss so much of city's heritage", June 13).

I agree with your correspondent about the revitalisation project at Central Police Station and the efforts that have been made.

Indeed, some of the city's historic structures are well preserved and have been revamped. While they help to promote cultural heritage and local history, there is certainly room for improvement.

Not all revitalisation projects achieve the goal of conveying the historical value of a heritage building to the public. For example, although the original look of the Wo Cheong pawn shop in Wan Chai has been restored, the veranda-type shophouse has become a high-end restaurant, which many Hongkongers cannot afford to visit.

The Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance, as a legal document for heritage preservation, has not been significantly amended since its enactment in 1976.

Compared with similar laws in some countries, including the mainland, we are lagging behind and not catering for the growing public demand for heritage preservation.

The decision-making power of the Antiquities and Monuments Office, as a sub-department of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, is insignificant. Also, there are not enough history and archaeology experts in the office.

The government has just announced plans for the revitalisation of a number of historic buildings, such as the former Dairy Farm senior staff quarters in Pok Fu Lam.

Let us hope our government can improve its policy of heritage preservation and revitalisation, in a spirit of promoting our culture heritage, so that our citizens can better understand our unique history and culture.

Ben L. P. Tsang, Yuen Long

Unhealthy habits bring cancer risk

There has been a warning from the Department of Health that Hongkongers are failing to ignore the warning signs of cancer.

This is a highly developed and affluent city and most citizens enjoy a stable life.

They do not have to worry about having enough to eat. But too many citizens are eating too much and not the right kind of food and this is leading to them being overweight and facing a greater risk of contracting cancer.

From my own experiences I think the department's claims are accurate. Many of my fellow students eat too much fast food. The department found that 81 per cent of those surveyed failed to eat five daily servings of fruit and vegetables, which is recommended.

I would suggest that the government increases the tax on alcohol and cigarettes.

Smoking or drinking immoderately will substantially increase the risk of contracting chronic diseases.

It could also impose a tax on sugary soft drinks. Hongkongers love cola drinks. They would be likely to drink less with a soda tax.

The Singapore government launched a National Healthy Lifestyle Campaign to promote a nation of healthy and happy people. It also created more parks where citizens could exercise at weekends.

By contrast Hongkongers do not have enough places to exercise.

Many citizens would rather visit a beauty centre than work out.

The government needs to do what it can to help Hongkongers pay more attention to their health. But it is also up to individual citizens to take responsibility for their own health.

Pamela Tse, Tai Po

Police failing to do their job at Mui Wo

I am writing to complain about policing in Mui Wo, Lantau.

In the past, the police used to carry out the necessary checks on traffic. Basically, they did their job.

Mui Wo is now a place where mayhem reigns and there is no sign that things are likely to get any better.

There are actions which contravene road traffic regulations, but which people are able to do now with impunity.

They include:

 

  • Cars driving into villages on roads for emergency vehicle access only;

 

 

  • Cars parking on pavements;

 

 

  • Motorbikes using village vehicle access-only paths;

 

 

  • Electric bikes;

 

 

  • Tricycles; and,

 

 

  • Bikes with no lights.

 

I do realise that Mui Wo is going through a major development programme at present, but surely that should not stop the police from carrying out their job of policing.

Andrew Renaud, Lantau