Letters to the Editor, January 10, 2017

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 January, 2017, 4:12pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 January, 2017, 4:12pm

Radical action needed now to curb bad air

The problem with smog in parts of the mainland is proving to be controversial.

This smog has blanketed large areas of the north of the country and its polluted air is harmful to citizens’ health. The highest warning signal, the red alert, has been raised for days at a time in Beijing resulting in a number of residents fleeing the capital.

I believe this is a problem that can be remedied as we know the major causes, namely, emissions from vehicles and ­factories.

What is needed is for the ­central government to introduce more effective policies aimed at curbing this pollution and to act promptly. Strict limits must be imposed on the ­number of cars allowed into ­Beijing and more must be done to encourage people to use ­public transport and leave their cars at home.

The government has in the past been accused of neglecting this issue, and given the impact the bad air is having in citizens, there must be a radical change of attitude. This is not just something that concerns China, but is a global problem.

If we continue to exploit the Earth’s natural resources global warming will get worse. All government have to act to reduce the effects of global warming.

Brenda Law Wing-man,Yau Yat Chuen

Recycled paper lunchboxes are the best option

It is intriguing to consider our government’s stance on ­recycling.

On the one hand, it places bins to enable the public to sort out (perhaps fruitlessly) their paper, plastic, metal and, very occasionally, their glass waste. And yet, on the other, it does nothing (apparently) to ­encourage use of recycled products that might kick-start new business, reduce waste going to landfills and the use of virgin ­resources.

A case in point: on Sunday, at a local dim sum restaurant for lunch, we over-ordered and asked to take away the leftovers. We were then presented with a styrofoam container.

Surely the government knows by now that styrofoam doesn’t break down and, if ­released into the marine environment, presents never-ending risk to the marine food chain, and by extension us.

A solution seems obvious – ban styrofoam for lunchboxes and replace it with recycled paper. It is a win for all, there is less damage to the marine environment, less waste goes to landfills, more income for the lap sap ladies and increased public awareness that recycling pays.

If the government has this in mind, it would be good to know about it; but with the integrated waste management facility in the works, I am not hopeful.

Jeremy Newton, Happy Valley

Government must reply to archives claim

If what was said in the article about archives ­related to the 1967 riots in Hong Kong disappearing from the government’s records is accurate, this is a ­serious matter that must be ­addressed by the ­government (“Filmmaker’s ­struggle to find footage reveals problems with city’s ­archives”, January 8).

Not only do definitive clarifications have to be made, but also official explanations given if ­certain archives are really ­missing.

It is a stupid and useless ­action by a government trying to hide historical records to suit its political aims. History will always retaliate at a later date.

Wilkie Wong, Yuen Long

Students crack under intense competition

Last year, Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim ­suggested that poor life ­planning was a cause of ­students taking their own lives.

However, it should also be recognised that our education system is a factor. There are not enough universities and so only a minority of students get an undergraduate place. At ­secondary school they are under tremendous pressure to get one of these coveted spots.

Therefore, I agree with education professionals who say that poor life planning ­cannot be seen as the sole ­reason for the spate of student suicides.

The stress these young ­people feel can come from ­different sources, for example, their peers, families and ­teachers. We cannot just focus on one factor.

It is important for students who are having problems to talk to someone.

Too often they feel that school counselling ­services are only for people who are under severe stress, but this is not the case.

Schools need to make it clear that all students are ­welcome to use these services.

I feel that the education ­secretary does not really understand the situation and the problems students are facing, in particular, the intense competition for a university place.

I do hope we will see a drop in the suicide rate.

Phoebe Chung, Yau Yat Chuen

Great news about vaccine against Ebola

In December, it was reported that the World Health Organisation (WHO) believes that a vaccine that could guard against the Ebola virus could be ready by next year.

This is really good news, given that once there is an outbreak, the virus can spread at an alarming rate and infect a lot of people, especially when in densely populated urban areas.

What has made the situation even worse is that it is prevalent in developing nations and they lack the medical infrastructure needed to deal with it.

Hopefully once this vaccine is introduced we will see a sharp drop in fatalities caused by the virus.

It would be great if the WHO could speed up its ­research and get the vaccine out as quickly as possible.

Ma Chung-yan, Tseung Kwan O

Risks of plastic surgery worth a closer look

Cosmetic surgery is becoming increasingly popular, with more people electing to go under the knife it to ­improve their looks.

However, there is definitely a downside to this trend, as in Hong Kong some procedures have gone badly wrong, and have even led to fatalities.

I wish people, especially women, would think carefully before deciding to have plastic surgery.

They need to ask themselves if the process is really necessary. If they are doing it to lose weight, they should get medical advice so that they are fully aware of the possible risks involved.

It is a pity that so many us now place so much importance on our appearance. Beauty is about far more than how you look.

Charlie Poon, Kowloon Tong

Ivory trade ban will make a difference

I am glad that the central ­government has announced a total ban on the ivory trade within a year, and it is good that there will also be a ban in Hong Kong ­within five years.

These initiatives are ­necessary, given that one elephant is killed for its ivory every 15 minutes.

With more governments banning the trade in ivory, hopefully there will be a gradual decline in the trade and ­thousands of elephants will be saved. However, to stop mainland traders moving into Hong Kong while the ivory trade ­remains legal here, the local government will have to ­strengthen law ­enforcement.

I also think ivory traders in Hong Kong should be given more than five years to sell their legal stock, because they have spent a lot of money on the ivory.

Zoe Liu Sze-yui, Kwai Chung