Letters to the Editor, December 27, 2015
We cannot ignore China’s bad air crisis
I am concerned about the serious air pollution problems in China.
It has become a more pressing crisis now that it is affecting so many people, with more citizens at risk of suffering from respiratory diseases. This is an alarming trend and could have serious consequences for the nation.
Before coming up with ways to curb the rising trend of bad air we have to look at the root causes. A major contributor is the burning of fossil fuels, that is, coal and oil.
Also, in the manufacturing sector there are a lot of carbon monoxide emissions from factories.
This air pollution is affecting people of all ages and damages vital organs, including the brain, lungs and kidneys. It can exacerbate the chronic conditions of elderly citizens. Acid rain forms which poses a threat to wildlife in parts of the country.
More must be done by governments and individuals. If we can all save energy and therefore use less pollution coal-fired power stations will burn less coal.
People throughout the country should be redoubling their efforts to recycle material and reuse things that still have a useful life rather than discard them, such as plastic bags.
Tiffany Ng Pui-yan, Kowloon Tong
Officials are so wrong about escalator
I refer to the report (“Escalator fails to ease traffic in Mid-Levels”, December 17)
Why does the Transport Department continue with the nonsense that the Mid-Levels escalator has failed to relieve traffic in that part of Hong Kong.
So it is a failure, say officials. Well imagine if all those who are using this escalator on a regular basis, were instead in taxis, minibuses and private cars? You would have complete gridlock.
One way to ensure more relief from congestion is to build the second track as was originally envisaged and thereby have a two-way stream, up and down, all day.
You would then have even more people using the escalator rather than travelling in vehicles.
James Robertson, Wan Chai
Pedestrian zone a green oasis in Central
I agree with those who back a proposal to ban most vehicles except trams from Des Voeux Road Central.
I think it can help to alleviate traffic congestion in that part of Central.
There will always be people who will disagree with such a plan and it is often difficult to come up with a strategy that satisfies all stakeholders. The best you can do is come up with something that deals as efficiently as possible with congestion problems.
Traffic congestion exacerbates roadside pollution, so having this road restricted to trams and pedestrians will definitely improve the environment.
This is becoming an increasingly important issue, not just in Hong Kong, but globally.
It is also a quality of life issue. With vehicles banned, Des Voeux Road Central will become a pleasant place where people can relax. Office workers go at such a frenetic pace in central business district and they need more places where they can take a rest.
Tourists walking around this part of Hong Kong which is full of high-rise buildings would welcome this arrangement on Des Voeux Road. Businesses operating on the road would also benefit as there would be more pedestrians and therefore more customers.
When it comes to planning the future development of Central, I think this proposal will bring more advantages than disadvantages.
Rachel Ng, Tseung Kwan O
Overuse of internet now a real problem
While the introduction of smartphones has brought a host of advantages to our lives, many people of all ages, including adults and adolescents, are spending too much time on the internet.
You can see this every day on the streets with people glued to their smartphone screens. Warnings have been issued about health hazards from overuse, but many individuals are still failing to heed them.
And it is not just the physical side-effects (such as back and neck pain and headaches) that have to be considered, there is also the psychological factor when people becoming addicted.
This can lead to severe depression as people use the net to try and escape from reality.
In addition some researchers have pointed out that using the smartphone to find quick answers to questions is not good for people’s memories.
It is up to individuals to help themselves and to practise more self-discipline and avoid overuse. They must force themselves to minimise the amount of time they spend online.
They should rely less on their smartphones and try to interact more with people. They are less likely to suffer from depression if they can share their feelings and concerns with friends and family members.
Helen Nguyen, Sham Shui Po
Banks’ charge for statements by mail unfair
I have received circulars from Standard Chartered and HSBC saying they will now only communicate with me via e-mail channels. From next month they will stop sending me monthly statements by post. If I want to continue to receive paper statements and bills I will have to pay between HK$10 and HK$20 per month.
Bank customers should have the right to continue to receive statements by mail if that is what they want, without facing additional charges.
This arrangement should also apply to statements issued by all mobile, landline and internet service providers.
They should be willing to issue paper bills without customers having to pay any extra charges. I would only deem an additional charge to be acceptable if it was around HK$2 per bill, but I think HK$10 to HK$20 is too steep.
I understand the argument that e-mail statements are good for the environment, but sometimes you need a print-out of a bill. And if you have concerns about internet security and possible hacking of accounts, then as a bank customer you should be entitled to choose statements by post.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority should advise banks to send paper statements without making this additional charge. This should also apply to telecommunications companies.
Abdul Rahman, Tsim Sha Tsui
TSA test can help improve teaching
The Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) has been criticised for leading to students being subjected to too much drilling in schools.
However, it is an effective tool at highlighting areas of a teaching model in a particular school where there is room for improvement. Therefore the TSA is an indispensible part of the measures used to improve the quality of teaching.
The test itself does not place any pressure on students. The result will have no bearing on their future studies and the questions are not that difficult. Parents should focus their attention on excessive drilling rather than the test.
The TSA gives pupils valuable experience in sitting exams and helps prepare them for the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education.
Au Kit-yan, Kowloon Tong