Letters to the Editor, March 29, 2017

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 March, 2017, 4:33pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 March, 2017, 4:33pm

Lam’s health plans focusing on prevention

Congratulations to Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on being elected to be our next chief ­executive.

She is a good, decent and fun (yes, fun) person, and is definitely eminently suitable for the top job.

Expectations are high for this first woman leader of Hong Kong. Her biggest challenge will be creating greater harmony ­between the government, the ­Legislative Council and the ­people.

Focusing on Lam’s plans for Hong Kong: her social welfare and health election platform was the most ambitious and ­inclusive of all the candidates, surely worthy of support by all political parties.

It remains a puzzle why ­parties traditionally aligned to such issues did not give her more support. It can only be hoped that, for the benefit of the less fortunate in our community, these same parties now rally behind her social plans.

In my own field of public health, Mrs Lam understands the importance of prevention, not only in health terms but also in economic terms.

She has said that if Hong Kong were to become more willing and ready to spend money on prevention rather than on curative services, it would actually ­reduce the need for subsequent hospital costs.

In other words, a megabyte of funding for prevention today will prevent a gigabyte of health costs in the future.

Dr Judith Mackay, Clear Water Bay

Election victor has very good track record

Many people were not happy with the result of Sunday’s chief executive election and the ­victory of Carrie Lam.

They do not feel she will be a suitable leader for Hong Kong when she begins her five-year term on July 1.

I do not agree with that view and believe that she could be a good chief executive. She ­secured 777 out of 1,186 votes.

I think that Lam is amply ­qualified after so many years in the civil service.

She has had a good track record since she joined the ­government. I hope she will be able to win over even those Hongkongers who have ­expressed doubts about her ability to be an effective leader.

Ken Siu, Tseung Kwan O

Coral faces grim future unless we act

I am concerned about the ­devastating loss of coral reefs globally.

Marine ecosystems are ­getting worse because of human activities such as overfishing, destructive fishing techniques, coastal development, pollution and careless tourism.

Also, the global effects of ­climate change are a major ­reason our reefs are being ­destroyed. We have to face up to this problem before it is too late.

Chemical fertilisers make up a major part of water pollution. Heavy rain and flooding washes these chemicals into the sea and this leads to high acidity levels in the water. As the water quality deteriorates, the coral dies off.

Global warming is causing water temperatures to rise and this has resulted in coral ­bleaching.

The coral reefs are the “rainforests of the sea”. The damage done can be so severe that it is irreversible. A reef ecosystem that is healthy can recover, but if the damage is extremely severe that will not be possible.

Throughout the world, ­people will continue to damage their habitats on land and sea ­unless there is a change in ­lifestyles.

We need to work together to protect vulnerable ecosystems before it is too late and some of our most beautiful habitats are lost forever.

It is up to individuals to urge their governments to pay more attention to conservation and protection of the environment. We all have a responsibility to act as global citizens.

Sharon Cheng, Yau Yat Chuen

Standardised food labels can help cut waste

The current practice of disposing of huge volumes of food waste in our landfills is not ­sustainable.

I think the situation could be improved with clearer date ­labels for food items. Shoppers get confused by the “use-by,” “sell-by,” “best-before” dates. This can lead to their throwing out items that are still OK to eat.

Date labels should therefore be standardised to prevent any misunderstanding.

One American politician has suggested “best if used by” ­labels, followed by “manufacturer’s suggestion only” and a standard “expires on” date for a small number of items. I think local supermarkets could follow this suggestion.

Food that we do not need but is still edible should be donated to food banks. It is used by these organisations to help the needy, such as street sleepers.

We should share resources with those less fortunate than ourselves. Pope Francis was right when he said, “Wasting food is like stealing from the poor.”

Jessie Leung Cheuk-yau, Kowloon Tong

Refuse charge more effective with education

I couldn’t agree more with your editorial on waste charges (“The need is urgent for a levy on waste”, March 23).

However, while a refuse charge in Hong Kong is essential, education is also important.

The most effective behavioural changes are rooted in a change of attitudes, and that can best be achieved through ­education.

But to be effective, it must be an education of the heart.

The government needs to take this two-pronged approach – charging for waste generated and teaching people to change their ways.

Y. L. Chan, Tsuen Wan

Limit number of flat buyers from mainland

Prices of flats keep rising in Hong Kong and are now unaffordable for many citizens. Developers have shown no signs of ­reducing these prices.

Because of this, the gap ­between the rich and the poor has widened, while the profits of developers keep growing.

People who can afford to buy property as an investment make the greatest gains, while ordinary residents lose out. Many of these investors are from the mainland.

The Hong Kong government should impose a limit on the number of buyers from the ­mainland and overseas.

Donald Wong, Tseung Kwan O

Students need help to realise their potential

There is something seriously wrong with our education ­system in Hong Kong.

Suicide statistics for ­local students show that ­increasing expenditure and imposing hard and fast rules are not the answer.

Officials should not impose regulations or policies that ­students end up resenting. Young people should be helped to enjoy ­studying and achieve their potential.

Peter Wei, Kwun Tong