Letters to the Editor, May 25, 2016
Professionals oversaw green roof projects
I refer to the report, “Baptist U may have breached roof rules” (May 23).
At Hong Kong Baptist University, there are currently five small-scale green roof gardens or podiums (ranging in size from 60 to 350 square metres) that were laid after the completion of buildings. These gardens are all built on structures with reinforced concrete with sufficient loading capacity.
Prior to the construction of the green roofs, checking, certification and assessment of the loading capacity of the roofs were performed by authorised professionals (including registered structural engineers), and all the green roof projects were carried out under the supervision of professionals.
We noted with concern the incident that occurred last Friday at City University.
While our regular checks of the buildings concerned have not raised any concerns, the university has engaged authorised persons and registered structural engineers to conduct a thorough safety inspection on all these green roofs on our campuses, which will be completed within the coming two weeks.
Most of the roof gardens on Baptist University’s campuses are areas accessible by our community members as well as the public.
But we are of the view that surveys done at these areas without the knowledge of the university and the necessary information and equipment are prone to yield speculative results, which can be misleading.
Campus safety is always our top priority. We will continue to ensure that our campus remains a safe place for our community members and visitors.
Lam Long-chau, director of estates, Hong Kong Baptist University
Lucky that collapse wasn’t during exams
As an alumnus of City University, I was alarmed by the news of the collapse on Friday of the roof of the multi-purpose hall where I sat my exams, played ball games and attended the graduation ceremony.
It was really fortunate that the collapse did not happen a few days earlier when exams were being held. If it had, many students would have been seriously injured.
I am also disappointed that only internal staff [except for one member] are on the investigation committee and no independent adviser was appointed.
Although a university spokesman said all procedures were complied with for greening the roof, it has to be asked if there was proper assessment of the ability of the roof to hold any excessive weight placed on it.
The building was constructed in the early 1990s, at a time when no one thought about greening roofs. City University should therefore seriously look into the causes for the collapse and whether there are any other structures on campus subject to such risks.
It should conduct a serious and impartial inquiry into the matter since there are thousands of students using the classrooms and buildings every day.
Tony Li, Kwai Chung
Food trucks scheme can boost tourism
I support the decision by the government to promote the food truck initiative in Hong Kong with its pilot scheme, and increase the quota of trucks.
This scheme is important because it can help preserve the city’s local street food culture.
Traditional street food stalls have been in decline because of high rents and the expanding monopolies of large food chains. Small-scale food vendors struggle to survive in this competitive environment.
Hopefully, they will now have an edge with this new scheme and it will offer tourists and locals more culinary options.
The smaller players and local entrepreneurs also have a better chance of surviving thanks to the decision of the government that only 8 to 15 per cent of the food trucks’ revenue will be charged as a service fee to cover electricity, waste disposal and cleaning.
Some mainland visitors now say they are bored when they come here.
Hopefully, the food trucks will bring something new for tourists to enjoy. It will be a new selling point when the Tourism Board is promoting Hong Kong in various countries.
This project could help traditional food vendors and I hope the government will look at ways of preserving other local trades that appear to be dying out, such as shoe shining and repair and pawn shops. These trades are part of our collective memory.
Fung Sze-man, Yau Yat Chuen
So many teens are losing sight of their dreams
I believe the cutthroat competition among students in Hong Kong is killing the dreams of many young people.
When they are younger, students may have many dreams, for example, to be a doctor, a singer or an author. But as they grow older and the pressure of their studies and exams gets greater, many have to forget these dreams. Often, they just become studying machines.
Teenagers tend to forget that life is short and sometimes once an opportunity has gone, it is lost forever. Therefore, youngsters should try and hold onto their goals and not just concentrate on getting accepted by a university.
They have to ask if getting that place is what they really want. Youngsters should not be forced into situations they do not really want, such as applying for a tertiary institution.
Tutti Sung, Tseung Kwan O
Wind power can lower air pollution levels
Governments are now looking to find alternatives to fossil fuels and the form of renewable I particularly favour is wind power.
Developing these renewable resources is important globally as the demand for electricity increases. Different countries are looking into the development of more high-tech eco-friendly ways to generate power, but most still have to depend largely on non-renewable energy, including China.
Fossil fuel plants continue to cause a lot of air pollution through their emissions.
When I look at all the available options, I think wind energy is the most valuable form of non-renewable energy.
I would like to see the Hong Kong government promoting it, because its widespread use can lead to lower levels of air pollution.
I appreciate we live in a small and densely-populated city, but wind turbines could surely be erected on mountain sides and other hilly areas where there are no residents. I would rather see these turbines than for us to rely more on nuclear power.
I hope the government will look into this.
Christy Wong, Ho Man Tin
PolyU at fault over disposal of T-shirts
I refer to the report, “New T-shirts dumped due to printing errors” (May 23).
The fact that these T-shirts carrying the logo of the Polytechnic University had misprinted words is no justification for “deliberately” destroying them and then throwing them away.
I do not think this was the right way for PolyU to deal with these T-shirts. In the end, the university created more waste and so more space in our under-pressure landfills was used up.
Clothes like this that cannot be used for their original purpose should not be thrown away. They could easily be donated to poor people. This would have been a more environmentally-friendly course of action.
I hope the university will take a more sensible approach to waste management.
Eric Chan,Tseung Kwan O