Letters to the Editor, February 4, 2017

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 February, 2017, 12:15am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 February, 2017, 12:15am

Glass recycling bin at complex never emptied

I refer to the letter from Ruby Ho Sum-yu about the problems of recycling glass in Hong Kong (“Citywide glass recycling is needed in HK”, January 20).

As a case in point, Fulham Garden on Pok Fu Lam Road has had just one glass recycling bin available for four blocks of 24 residences each for quite some time now.

The problem, according to the management office here, is that the contractor designated to collect these bottles has set an artificially low limit for the quantity that they will collect. The bin apparently has never been emptied since it was delivered to this complex.

I was told by the management that the glass removal contractor only takes away a small number of these glass bottles each time that they (apparently) put in an appearance.

Fulham Garden management said they store some of these bottles elsewhere for “safety” – but this is no substitute for having all the contents and other bottles hauled away in totality at regular intervals, so that any broken glass does not puncture our vehicles’ tyres.

I believe in recycling as much as possible, but the accumulation of glass bottles is making me wary of trying to do so, since these breakable items are close to where I drive through.

Anthony R. C. Green, Pok Fu Lam

Reduce waste to prevent a landfill crisis

I agree with Tom Yam about the volumes of waste in the city (“Waste management problems are getting worse in Hong Kong”, January 24).

Waste is undoubtedly one of our major problems. With around 9,000 tonnes per day of municipal solid waste (MSW), the three landfills in the city will soon become full. More than half of MSW is domestic waste.

Compared to countries like Japan, Hong Kong doesn’t have an effective waste management system. In general, our citizens do not have the habit of recycling. Even though the government could address the problem by ­expanding landfills, the lack of proper waste management and a growing population may leave us without enough space for landfills.

The problem should be tackled by the reduction of waste, a drive that every Hong Kong citizen should commit to. Food waste is one of the major sources of rubbish in the landfills. To improve living standards and the environment, we must come together to reduce waste and nurture the recycling habit.

More recycling bins could be provided to raise public awareness, and some form of reward introduced for citizens of districts that recycle the most or sharply cut waste production.

Kassandra Wong Hiu-tung, Tseung Kwan O

Trump ban on refugees is un-American

What would the history of art be if Piet Mondrian, the Dutch painter and second world war refugee, had been denied access to New York City in 1940?

What if Marc Chagall, the Jewish-Russian painter, had been unable to escape Bolshevism for asylum in the US?

What would have happened to Madeleine Albright, former US secretary of state, if her family had not fled to America from Czechoslovakia in 1948? Or to political theorist Hannah Arendt, who was born in Germany in 1933 and fled Nazi persecution to eventually become a naturalised US citizen in 1950?

How different would the field of anthropology be if Claude Levi-Strauss, the French-Jewish ethnologist, had been turned away from America after he was stripped of his citizenship under the Vichy anti-Semitic laws?

What if Vladimir Nabokov had been killed in the Russian civil war rather than emigrating to the safety of America?

And what would have been the fate of Albert Einstein if Princeton University had not welcomed him in 1933, allowing the Nobel-winning physicist to escape Nazi Germany? What if Einstein had been stuck at JFK airport right now because he is a Jew from war-torn Europe?

Is it different today because these names are mainly white European intellectuals from non-Muslim countries?

For more than two centuries, the American policy of tolerance, openness, trust and love of diversity has paved the way for groundbreaking achievements in the arts and sciences. It is the spirited invention of the immigrant’s journey that has been our greatest legacy. It is what makes our nation admirable.

We are a nation of immigrants. President Donald Trump’s ban on refugees is fundamentally un-American. It slanders the constitution.

This nation does not have the right to turn groups away or shut groups down. It is a country bound ­together by the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and these principles apply to all people.

George Cassidy Payne, founder, Gandhi Earth Keepers International, Rochester, New York

Revamped TSA may still choke children

I am writing to express my views on the revamped Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA).

Two weeks ago, Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim revealed plans to extend the “basic competency assessment research study” to all primary school students, and explained that the new test is simpler and will eliminate over-drilling. However, what if the impact on students is just as suffocating as that of the old TSA?

It has since been reported that some primary students were still given mock papers on the test as their Lunar New Year holiday homework, and many primary schools are still asking their pupils to buy supplementary exercises.

Ng assured the public that the new test would not trigger a vicious cycle of drilling like the old TSA did, but has anything really improved?

Cherry Li Wing-lam, Yau Yat Chuen

Trousers are better choice for schoolgirls

I believe schools should offer uniform options to students. Whether I wear trousers, jeans, skirts or dresses, it is my choice to make. Why do schools withhold that right and decide all girls must wear skirts or dresses?

Skirts and dresses hinder movement in many ways. Wearers also have to adjust their position and be careful about exposing too much, which wearing trousers can eschew.

Schools educate us to protect our body. In a society where women are sexualised and often subjected to victim-shaming, wearing trousers is undoubtedly a means to do so. Why do schools still require us to wear skirts when there are perverts targeting schoolgirls in skirts?

Albury Ma, Tin Shui Wai

Make nursing rooms a must at all city malls

In Hong Kong, too many factors discourage breastfeeding mothers, ­including a lack of nursing rooms.

All of society should encourage breastfeeding for the health of newborns, including not just our government, but employers as well. A survey in 2015 found only 18.6 per cent of 2,000 respondents worked in nursing-friendly workplaces.

First of all, employers should offer longer maternity leave, so that babies get enough time to be weaned and started on formula. Also, this will encourage more mothers to breastfeed, which will benefit the long-term health of our future generations.

Secondly, the government should make nursing rooms compulsory at every shopping mall. Such a step will not only help young families but also ­increase public awareness of the issue, which is lacking now.

Laurent Li, Tiu King Leng