Letters to the editor, February 29, 2016
Still looking at artificial islands plan
I refer to the article by Dr Martin Williams (“Extreme folly of reclamation amid rising sea levels”, February 4). I would like to provide relevant information for reference to your readers.
Hong Kong is committed to working together with the international community to combat the challenge of climate change. Among the measures, the Civil Engineering and Development Department is updating the existing design guidelines for coastal structures including reclamation works, making reference to the latest assessment reports published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to take into account the predicted sea level rise.
Reclamation is a recognised major source of land formation for coastal cities worldwide. In 2013, the government conducted a public engagement exercise on the enhanced land supply strategy and identified the central waters between Lantau and Hong Kong Island as having good potential for development of artificial islands for accommodating populations and as a new core business district.
Against this background, the government has proposed to carry out technical studies to determine the feasibility and suitability of the reclamation.
While no position has been taken on the proposal at this stage, the works departments reckon that purely on the technical ground of coastal defence against severe weather conditions, there is no reason to regard the construction of artificial islands as “folly”.
The design standards and technology for reclamation works and coastal defence structures will take into consideration the probable severe weather conditions, including storm surges.
Paul C. K. Chu, senior engineer/public relations, Civil Engineering and Development Department
Mong Kok riot challenged the rule of law
Many people in society have expressed different opinions about the Mong Kok riot.
While some individuals may think those involved in the disturbances were challenging the government, I think those who became involved in the riot were wrong.
A society needs harmony and this was undermined by what happened in Mong Kok on February 8.
Protesters eventually formed a mob and they attacked police officers and journalists. They lit fires and damaged public property. Some officers sustained injuries.
This riot challenged the rule of law and I was shocked by it.
It will also have undermined the tourist sector and tourism is an important part of the Hong Kong economy.
Given that it was Lunar New Year, I am sure there would have been many tourists from the mainland and other countries in the area and they must have been shocked by what they witnessed.
It must have left some of them with the impression that Hong Kong is no longer a peaceful city.
I can understand citizens being unhappy with aspects of government and wishing to express their anger, but hurting other people and damaging public property is not the way to do that.
They were angered by a crackdown on unlicensed hawkers, but that does not justify such violent behaviour.
There are still many peaceful ways open to people in Hong Kong to express their anger with the government.
This was a time of the year, during Hong Kong’s main festival, when families are out in large numbers and they should not have had to witness that. For me, what should have been a time of happiness was a very sad Chinese New Year.
Many of these rioters are Hongkongers. Why did they choose to do something that hurt their home?
People need to think carefully about their actions before acting foolishly. We still need to have faith in the rule of law in this city.
Tsui Wing-sze, Tsuen Wan
Backing new revamp for waterfront
There is clearly a need to enhance the facilities at the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui.
It has been criticised in the past by foreign media for being dull and any revitalisation project has to satisfy the needs of tourists.
The first revitalisation scheme was scrapped and this latest one will take less time to complete. What it has lacked are comfortable resting areas.
The original scheme did not appear to address this with such things as a movie gallery. It is now planned that there will be trees and areas where people can rest and I think this is good.
The tourism sector is very important, so ensuring that this popular tourist spot is not closed for as long as was originally planned is good. I think the tourism sector could have suffered if the Avenue of Stars had been shut for three years.
Hong Kong is rightly regarded as a vibrant city and we need to ensure that the Avenue of Stars is seen by visitors as one of its prime assets.
I hope that under this revitalisation scheme, it can attract even more tourists.
Tong Tak-yu, Kowloon Tong
We can all help to reduce food waste in city
Hong Kong is a food lovers’ paradise, where you can enjoy dishes of different kinds of cuisine from all over the world at reasonable prices.
However, the city generates a lot of food waste every day and this means that our landfills are nearing capacity and could be full within a decade.
We need to try and seek solutions to this serious problem.
The most efficient way to deal with it is to cut food at source. Too often, when people meet relatives for a large meal in a restaurant, they order too many dishes which all the diners cannot possibly finish.
I think the key here is education. The government should have a campaign urging people not too order too many dishes.
Restaurants should also work with charities and donate food that has not been eaten and is still edible.
There are food banks and charities which provide fresh meals to the needy and they would welcome donations of food from eateries.
If this donation programme was done on a large scale, then I think we could see substantial daily reductions of food waste.
I also believe that the planned waste incinerator can help cut the volumes of waste ending up in landfills.
I understand that the project has proved to be controversial because of its location and fears that it will create pollution, particularly air pollution. However, we need to cut the amount of waste heading to our landfills and therefore the incinerator makes sense to me.
If we compare how other developed cities deal with their food waste, we have a very poor track record. his is something that we really have to deal with.
Abby Luk, Yau Yat Chuen
Some people marred lovely lighting display
I am writing to express my views on the bad behaviour of some people at the Light Rose Garden.
Tens of thousands of people came to Tamar Park to see the installation of 25,000 LED-lit white roses. Some of them came to blows as they tried to get the best position to take photographs.
Light Rose Garden was an extraordinary installation and Hongkongers should be proud that the city was chosen to have it as a location. But some people ignored the rules.
They stepped over fences and stood in the middle of the flower beds to take their photographs. Some of them even decided to lie down to get a better shot even though this was strictly forbidden. Some people tried to pull out some of the roses, which was just not acceptable. The situation got serious with some bent roses and exposed wires.
Hong Kong citizens need to understand that such behaviour is not acceptable. It made it more difficult for people who were sticking to the rules and not bothering anyone to relax and enjoy the installation. Hong Kong should be protecting its reputation for practising self-discipline, especially in areas like this, which attract a lot of visitors from abroad.
So often in the past, locals have complained about the bad manners of mainlanders when they are visiting here from north of the border, but they are not to blame for what happened at Tamar Park.
When it comes to encouraging others to behave correctly, we need to lead by example.
Maggie Chan Hiu-suet, Cheung Sha Wan