The French village of Pince has come up with an innovative way of responding to the European Union directive to divert domestic waste from going into landfills.
It has decided to give a couple of chickens to each [interested] household to keep in their backyard, and to feed them on kitchen waste.
Householders must promise not to eat or sell the chickens for two years, and have also been given instructions on how to look after them. They reckon each chicken will eat 150kg of waste each year.
Other villages in France and Belgium have decided to do the same thing.
This ingenious solution seems to have a certain resonance for Hongkongers, doesn't it?
It scarcely needs to be said that we have a problem with waste disposal, and it is way past time to abandon the ridiculous prohibition on keeping backyard chickens.
There are plenty of people here on Lantau who would leap at the opportunity of having a couple of chooks.
Not only could the chickens eat kitchen waste, but they would provide a ready supply of fresh eggs, which would be a real boon for everyone involved, especially the poorer members of the community.
It would be a far more sensible way of disposing of some of the obscene amounts of money that the city has accumulated rather than trying to buy people's compliance in a system which sucks up to the rich while trashing the planet, with handouts and cuts in energy bills.
It wouldn't solve the waste disposal problem, obviously, but it would certainly help.
It is one way of turning a problem into a solution, and it might inspire others to come up with other small-scale solutions. It's cheap and simple, with positive outcomes for everyone.
Indeed, I believe we need to ring the city with small-scale organic farms, replete with free-range chickens, which would help to make Hong Kong more resilient in terms of healthy food as we face a future of highly unstable weather conditions and serious shortages of cheap oil.
These factors make it essential that the city drastically reduces its dependence on fossil fuels, and this means, in part, growing what we can locally instead of transporting everything in from the mainland and further afield. It's time to give this issue a fresh airing.
Donald Latter, Lantau