Letters to the Editor, May 31, 2015
Disposal tax one way to reduce waste
We should tackle the refuse challenges Hong Kong faces, through a waste disposal tax, constructing an incinerator and by expanding existing landfills.
The reason for having a waste disposal tax is that it can change Hongkongers' attitude on municipal waste.
As there is no domestic waste charging scheme yet, people are not alert to the fact that they have the responsibility to reduce waste.
According to government information, Seoul'sper capita municipal waste generation is 0.95 kg/day, but Hong Kong's is 1.36kg/day.
Constructing an incinerator is also a good way to reduce the amount of waste dumped in landfills. Electricity can be generated too. This can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
Last but not least, I agree with the governmet that we have to expand existing landfills.
All of the landfills in Hong Kong will be full by 2020. If we do not expand them now, we are at risk of having no way to deal with the waste generated in the city.
If that is the situation, we will have to deal with stinking rubbish every day on the street. As a result, it is necessary for us to expand the landfills.
To cope with the waste problem of Hong Kong, we have to take multiple measures, as well as recycling.
Bella Lo, Tuen Mun
Cut the lights and bring back the stars
I am writing to express my concerns about light pollution in Hong Kong.
We live in an international city that never sleeps.
As night falls, all kinds of lights keep the city alive. They create a spectacular night view, which is an iconic image of Hong Kong.
Dazzling neon lights can be seen across the harbour every night but many have created light pollution.
Nowadays, many people living in the city are affected by these blinding lights. Quality of sleep is badly affected and health can suffer.
Since many neon lights can be seen till midnight, they waste a lot of energy.
While increasing the burning of fossil fuels, light pollution contributes to air pollution and global warming in the long run.
Despite these problems, many consider the bright lights necessary evil because they contribute to Hong Kong's economy through tourism.It makes people wonder whether these tourist attractions can co-exist with measures to reduce their brightness.
Since not all lighting is necessary, the government should set up laws to regulate excessive outdoor lighting for commercial use at night.
As a result, we may be able to see beautiful stars in the sky again.
Wendy Wong Wai-ting, Sham Shui Po
HMS Tamar deserves to be salvaged
I refer to the report ("Shipwreck found in sea bed off Wan Chai most likely famous Hong Kong ship HMS Tamar", May 22).
I am exuberant over such a significant find yet troubled by the government's elusive attitude towards conservation.
As a child, the name Tamar baffled me.
It suggested a vessel but all one could see was empty ground.
It wasn't until I saw the anchor at the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence that I realised Tamar was not an imaginary name made up out of auspicious reasons for the harbourfront.
Now, a living piece from the past has emerged, putting a face to the name that all Hongkongers are familiar with.The historical value HMS Tamar can offer to the next generations outweighs the short-term inconvenience and extra costs of any infrastructure delays if we decide to salvage the ship.
HMS Tamar's contribution during Hong Kong's darkest times has certainly earned it permanent residency in the city. A society as advanced as ours should have the capacity to show care and compassion to its lost heritage.
I am studying heritage conservation, and really hope the government can treat HMS Tamar with respect, setting a good precedent for future chance discoveries.
It would also show that Hong Kong is more than just a financial hub that focuses on the present, but one that doesn't bury its past.
Joyce H. C. Kam, Tsuen Wan
Policy, not parks, can fix housing
I refer to the letter by Carmen Li ("We should build flats in country parks", May 20).
She believes that building flats in country parks can help solve the housing shortage in Hong Kong, but I don't agree with that.
Country parks are a kind of recreational land use for leisure. They help citizens to relax away from their busy work. If the government chooses to construct flats in country park, then all of Hong Kong will be surrounded by tall buildings, and workers will have lost tranquil places to have a rest.
Country parks are not going to solve the problem. The major issue is the government does not have a well-developed plan to fix the housing shortage.
Therefore, I suggest that building flats in the country parks is not the answer.
Kitty Lui Sze-ki, Tseung Kwan O
Eight-hour day makes sense and dollars
A lot of people work long hours in Hong Kong.
It is important for us to utilise our abilities so as to contribute to society. However, it is not necessary for employees to work more than eight hours a day. Sometimes, overwork is not synonymous with success.
Overwork is a serious health risk. People forced to put in long hours at the office are bound to an unhealthy routine, like poor diets and sleeping less to devote more time to work.According to a study in England, British civil servants who worked more than 10 hours a day were found to be 60 per cent more likely to develop heart disease than those who work seven hours a day.
Furthermore, overworked employees will be less productive due to their fatigue and added pressure. When input exceeds a certain level, there is going to be a diminishing marginal return. It has been long recognised in the industrial sector that overworked employees using heavy machinery are more likely to injure themselves or damage the goods they work on. Imagine a worker suffering with hypertension, or even resorting to alcohol or drugs to relieve pressure - a no-win for worker and employer.
If employees are not working overtime, they can spend time with friends and families and exercise more. It is understandable employers want to maximise output, but having employees overworked is detrimental to health. An eight-hour work day would allow a good work-life balance.
Wyze Tang, Yuen Long
Children need more exercise to stay healthy
Hong Kong has legislation to protect children but there are times when parents can be overprotective.
Children are too often spoiled. They are allowed to spend too much time playing video games on their computers and end up getting little or no exercise.
This can result in health problems such as obesity and short-sightedness.
Schools need to recognise these problems and take appropriate action.
They should ensure students get enough exercise by having more PE classes.
Also parents need to limit computer game time and encourage more physical activity.
Liu Chun-yin, Sheung Shui