Letters to the Editor, June 12, 2017
Waste charge can help raise awareness
I support the government’s proposal to introduce a waste charging scheme for households in 2019, in an effort to reduce the huge volumes of municipal solid waste generated every day in Hong Kong.
Having each household use these prepaid bags can help reduce waste and this is so important with our landfills nearing capacity.
Citizens have failed to protect the environment in Hong Kong. And I am not just concerned about rubbish from apartment blocks. A lot of construction waste also ends up in landfills.
I appreciate that there will be some resistance from residents when the charging scheme is introduced, because for the first time they will have to pay for the disposal of the refuse they have generated.
But I hope they will eventually take a positive attitude and recognise the importance of having less waste and treasuring our city and our planet.
We all have a duty to protect the Earth.
Mandy Chan Sze-ki, Yau Yat Chuen
Keep uneaten buffet food out of landfills
A large component of discarded rubbish in rich countries is edible food that is thrown away. Modern-day food waste can be composted in the spirit of returning to the Earth what it has given us and that we neglected to use.
When a third of still-edible food is binned, it makes sense to cook, order and eat sensible amounts, enough to stay healthy and active.
Less discarded food will reduce personal costs for quantity-based waste charging as well as saving on grocery and restaurant bills.
Wasted food is then far less likely to contaminate recycling streams that require labourintensive sorting and separation.
A polluter-pays model could potentially encourage buffet restaurants to distribute uneaten food to homeless shelters or people who live on the streets.
Supermarkets with nearexpired packed foods that cannot be sold could make them available for free in a designated concourse for citizens living in poverty, thereby reducing the commercial cost of transporting and burying mountains of packaged food in landfills.
Dr Joseph Ting, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Recycling operators face many obstacles
I agree with correspondents who have talked about the need to tackle Hong Kong’s serious plastic waste problem. However, we face some barriers when it comes to recycling.
It remains difficult to get many citizens to try to recycle plastic products rather than simply discard them.
Although the plastic bag levy has been place since 2009, I still see some stores giving plastic bags to customers and not charging them. The scheme cannot be considered a real success unless it is helping to change wasteful attitudes and habits. Until those attitudes change, a lot of plastic waste will continue to end up in our landfills.
One of the problems faced by the recycling sector in Hong Kong is cost.
A recycling firm has to make a substantial investment of capital, because of the various stages in the recycling process, for example, collection, sorting, transportation and the recycling process. Recycling one tonne of plastic costs about HK$1,400 currently, and the volumes of plastic waste are huge, so recycling firms face high costs.
Also, not all plastic can be recycled and used again.
The government must try and introduce measures to make it easier for the plastic recycling sector to operate successfully in Hong Kong.
Tim Cheung Yat-hin, Tseung Kwan O
Students must have more PE lessons
There are not enough physical education lessons at local schools.
I am a secondary school student and I have only two PE lessons every week. That is not enough and I cannot make up for this at the weekend, because I have to do so much revising and therefore I have no time to exercise.
Therefore, I think the school syllabus should have four PE lessons a week, in order to give youngsters the chance to lead healthier lives.
The government should also be doing more to promote sports and having events that encourage all citizens to exercise more. I do not think it has done enough in this regard.
It also needs to build more facilities to make it easier for people to participate in sport.
I hope that if more students get involved in sport, then those with ability will find that the new facilities can help nurture their talent so they are able to compete in international tournaments.
Louis Fung, Sau Mau Ping
Make sure all cycle tracks are connected
Governments around the world are introducing initiatives that are environmentally friendly. And individuals and some companies have also played their part.
In Hong Kong, we recently saw the launch of bike-sharing service Gobee.bike.
It might be hoped that such services would encourage more people to lead greener lifestyles, but it is restricted to certain parts of the New Territories only. As I live in Tseung Kwan O, I won’t be able to use it.
I hope that the company will expand its base of operations so that more people can enjoy the service it provides.
The Hong Kong government must continue with its planned expansion of cycle tracks, linking up the different tracks so that the whole network is much larger and is interconnected.
With additional interlinked tracks, more Hongkongers are likely to take up cycling at the weekend. Cycling is a very good form of exercise and so it should be promoted as far as possible in Hong Kong.
When it comes to encouraging citizens to recognise the importance of daily exercise in their lives, the government has an important role to play.
Lynette Tang Wing-yan, Tseung Kwan O