Letters to the Editor, January 1, 2018

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 January, 2018, 4:33pm
UPDATED : Monday, 01 January, 2018, 4:33pm

Responsible drinking is what matters

As we step into 2018, many will have made New Year’s resolutions as they toasted their glasses in celebration at the stroke of midnight.

Whether it is with colleagues, friends or family; in restaurants, bars or at home, the Hong Kong Forum for Responsible Drinking would like to remind everybody to always celebrate such joyful occasions responsibly.

Established in 2010, the forum is a coalition of Hong Kong’s leading beer, spirits and wine companies, formed with the mission of educating the public on the need to drink responsibly. The forum works with the government and social organisations to educate Hong Kong citizens on the risks of drink-driving, binge drinking, drinking during pregnancy and underage drinking.

Consuming alcohol can be an enjoyable part of life, as long as we drink responsibly. Despite Hong Kong having one of the lowest alcohol consumption levels in the world, we should all remain watchful.

The year 2017 marked a particularly important year, with the government taking a big step forward to introduce a legal purchase age for alcohol. It is consistent with the coalition’s aims, and we strongly support this ­initiative. We also believe it will significantly reduce underage ­drinking.

Since its inception, the forum has been proud to see the majority of Hong Kong citizens continue to display a strong sense of responsibility through moderate consumption of alcohol. In 2016, there was one fatality resulting from drink-driving. While this number remains low when compared to other countries, the forum believes that one death is one too many, and that the community should remain vigilant.

We should all continue to support responsible drinking by making informed choices. Let us remind ourselves and the people around us not to drink and drive, to keep the roads and each other safe.

Readers wanting more information about responsible drinking, can visit our website

(http://www.fred.org.hk/).

Steven Co, chairperson, Hong Kong Forum for Responsible Drinking

Flats should not be built in country parks

I disagree with your correspondent Jessica Wong Tsz-yau about building in rural areas (“Country parks could ease housing stress”, December 28).

I accept that there is a serious shortage of affordable housing in Hong Kong. But, if we build flats in country parks, a natural environment will be permanently destroyed, including ­animal habitats.

It is a slippery slope and once a government starts building in country parks, where will it end? Instead, the administration should be doing more to revitalise old urban areas and revamp empty factories to provide more ­housing.

Celia Cheung Pui-yan, Kwai Chung

Gun lobby will always fight tighter controls

The mass shooting in Las Vegas in October, that left 58 people dead, led to many people once again calling for tougher gun control laws in the US.

I wish the US government and state legislators would recognise there is a problem and that policy changes are needed to save lives.

Many citizens continue to play down the serious risk posed by firearms in the streets, and also in people’s homes.

There have been incidents of children being killed in accidents because their parents did not store their guns in a safe and secure place.

President Donald Trump described the Las Vegas shooter as “demented”, but still refuses to tighten the law. Even when there is a shooting in a school, the gun lobby will come out against any new legislation. But tougher laws are long overdue.

Lovelyn Wong, Tsing Yi

Badly polluted beauty spots hurt tourism

I read a report on a mainland website about a scenic area in Guangxi where a popular TV mainland TV show was shot, and which is now heavily ­polluted with refuse.

The series, The Journey of Flower, was filmed in this area which is famed for its mountains and beautiful waterfalls.

This highlights the problem of pollution and discarded refuse in many parts of China. And some factories continue to be major polluters, pumping toxic chemicals into rivers and streams, which end up in the sea and damage crops.

The central government and provincial authorities should work with green groups to fight pollution more effectively. When beauty spots are turned into rubbish dumps, this hurts the tourism sector and in turn the nation’s economy.

Chow Ka-wing, Kwai Chung

Heavy bags pose serious health risk

I agree with correspondents who have called on the ­Education Bureau to install lockers in primary schools, so that pupils do not have to carry such heavy bags full of textbooks every day.

Primary students are very vulnerable and could sustain chronic and debilitating back injuries if they have to carry such heavy school bags so often.

They could end up with a stoop, a condition they will have to cope with for the rest of their lives and this is very unfair.

If they each have a locker, they can leave heavy textbooks they do not need for homework in the school, for use in class the next day. Secondary ­school ­students already have lockers, so it is simply a case of officials making sure all primary schools now have them.

Some correspondents have also suggested greater use of electronic books, so that schools can dispense with heavy textbooks, but there are some disadvantages to relying too much on e-books.

Spending long periods staring at a small computer screen can cause eye strain.

The problem is that some of these screens are really small, on tablets and smartphones, for example. And pupils have other bulky items in their bags, such as lunchboxes and water bottles, not just textbooks.

Kitty Lui Sze-ki, Tseung Kwan O