Letters to the Editor, October 2, 2017
Second-hand textbooks are greener choice
I agree with Barry Dalton about needless waste (“Textbooks are thrown away in wasteful city”, September 27).
In most cases, there is no need for publishers to bring out a new edition every year. I have looked at the textbooks of my younger cousin and noticed that there is not much difference between two editions published two years apart.
I would say the content is 90 per cent the same, except, for example, the case studies.
I would recommend that students, where possible, should purchase second-hand textbooks. However, they can check first with a new edition to ascertain that there are not a lot of important changes.
It is not environmentally friendly to throw textbooks away just after one year. Parents should consider donating textbooks which their children no longer need to pupils from lower-income families or even to relatives. I gave my textbooks for junior forms to my cousin.
Also, students must get out of the habit of writing notes in the margins of books. This ruins them for future users. They should instead use notebooks for this purpose.
The government has acted to reduce the number of textbooks thrown away every year. More bookshops and environmental organisations should help recycle second-hand textbooks.
Ita Lo, Tiu Keng Leng
It is possible to have lighter school bags
I think different stakeholders have a role to play to reduce the weight carried by our primary students (“Pupils weighed down by overstuffed school bags”, September 26).
I see so many young students on our streets carrying large and heavy bags on their backs. Something must be done to reduce their burden.
Parents should shop for bags made of the lightest material and designed to offer some protection to the spine.
Also, every morning, pupils should check the contents of their bags and include only books they know they will need. Parents can help them with this.
All schools should provide lockers so that students can keep textbooks in school if they do not need them later for homework. Teachers should also help pupils make maximum use of their lockers so that their bags are lighter.
Some people have argued that the best way to lighten the load is for schools to switch to electronic books, but I would not like to see traditional textbooks completely phased out.
It would not be good for children’s eyes if they had to spend the whole day looking at a small screen. Also, as most of them have smartphones, spending so long on these devices could lead to addiction for some children.
If stakeholders take the right approach to this issue, it should be possible to ensure that school bags carried by children are much lighter.
Karen Ng Hong-ming, Tsing Yi
Bus drivers in city deserve better deal
I am glad the Transport Department is looking at the hours that bus drivers work in Hong Kong, following a fatal accident last month (“Bus drivers’ shifts to be reviewed”, September 25).
Transport unions have complained that drivers’ shifts are often too long. They often do overtime because their salaries are so low. If drivers are doing a lot of overtime, I am concerned that they will not have enough time to rest and will be tired when they report for work.
Bus companies must raise their drivers’ pay. This will mean they can work shorter hours and the firms will also have a greater likelihood of being able to recruit younger drivers, who at the moment are put off by the low pay.
The overall jobs package for bus drivers must be improved, including welfare.
Lily Lau, Tseung Kwan O
Shorter shifts safer option for transport firms
I think the Hong Kong government has to legislate and stipulate the maximum hours bus drivers can work per shift. They should not be doing 14-hour shifts, which some resort to, in order to earn a decent salary.
Drivers must also be given enough time to rest between shifts. They need to be alert when they are driving. I believe that there will be fewer accidents if drivers get enough rest between work hours per shift.
Kelly Wong, Po Lam
E-payments should become more popular
A leading electronic wallet system will link Hong Kong banks when it is launched here next year.
This will be a positive development, as some people have pointed out that Hong Kong is falling behind when it comes to cashless payments, compared, for example, with places like mainland China.
Of course, most of us have an Octopus card, but cashless payments are not as widespread here as in other developed cities.
I hope there will be more advances in this new technology in Hong Kong.
Companies specialising in this area of commerce must try to raise the levels of awareness of consumers in Hong Kong, so that they can learn how convenient it is to avail of electronic payment systems.
Yoyo Li Tsz Kwan, Yau Yat Chuen