Letters to the Editor, June 17, 2016
Offer people a better chance to recycle
I am grateful to Yonden Lhatoo for bringing to light the information regarding the new downsized rubbish bins (“Hong Kong’s vanishing dustbins and a failure to keep the city clean”, June 10).
I don’t agree with the new policy [of bins with smaller openings] and do not think it will be successful. I have a proposition for the government which may help it achieve its goals, though I do not have a loud enough voice to be heard.
I propose, with the eventual decrease in the number and capacity of rubbish bins, the government should increase the number and capacity of recycling bins so that by every rubbish bin there is an option to recycle our waste. Recycling is nothing new, but it is not encouraged enough and just not feasible for those who are not conscious about their waste.
I’m not just talking about recycling bins next to every rubbish bin, I’m talking about real measures to reduce our waste. We need recycling facilities and containers in cafes, kitchens, offices, businesses, hospitals, clinics, wherever we can put them. I actually take my recyclable waste home, because there are not enough facilities in public places. I don’t know how many other people are willing to do the same with their plastic cutlery, plastic drinks containers, covers and straws.
I believe riding the wave of public opinion on this matter is best in expediting change.
I’ve given some examples on how other countries have been implementing simple programmes to reduce waste and recycle on my blog (www.hongkongchirocare.com/blog). I feel sharing my opinions with the public will provide the government with a feasible option, one that could help it achieve its goals and one it might never have conjured up.
Dr Gillian P. S. Tsang, registered chiropractor
Lovely bays are so full of rubbish
If anyone has ventured out for a swim at Repulse or Deep Water bays recently, they will have encountered floating debris of disgraceful proportions.
There is not just the odd plastic bag or bottle that has accidentally blown off the beach.
This ghastly barrage includes obvious household and probably industrial waste.
If you look down to the coast from Island Road you can see the accumulation for hundreds of metres.
The sad thing about this is that we, the suffering swimming public, are powerless to do something about it.
We can file written complaints and sign petitions, but the responsible government officials know full well that, if they stall long enough, some of the plastic will just sink to the sea floor and the rest will eventually drift to other places. Presto, problem “solved”.
How difficult would it be to engage a proper contractor to use one of those rubbish-scooping catamarans and zap the beaches every day?
Surely such a lovely resource should be properly cared for.
Ian Polson, Mid-Levels
Declarations quite clear about islands
I refer to the letter by Bill Hayton (“South China Sea has been shared, never owned by one power”, June 6), replying to the article by Tung Chee-hwa (“On South China Sea disputes, China stands on the side of history, logic and the law”, May 25).
Mr Hayton says that, at the end of the second world war, the Allies intended to leave open the fate of the Paracel and Spratly islands.
Were an open fate intended, the 1943 Cairo Declaration and 1945 Potsdam Declaration could have left out the over-arching wording “such as” in its stipulation that all territories Japan stole from China “such as Manchuria, Formosa and the Pescadores” had to be restored to China.
That the two declarations deliberately included this wording shows that the Paracels and Spratlys are meant to be among the territories to be returned to China’s sovereignty. It is the only named recipient in these documents. Were an open fate intended, the Philippines, Vietnam, France and the US would have objected to the nine-dash line as soon as it was published in 1947, but they did not.
Mr Hayton’s view that the South China Sea should remain a shared but not owned sea is noble, but it should be addressed to the Philippines and Vietnam instead of Mr Tung. The Philippines was the most aggressive claimant in the 1970s, but lost its chance. Vietnam now occupies some 45 features in the disputed Spratlys, several times the total of all the features occupied by all other claimants combined. This can hardly be achieved through friendly action.
The way for a peaceful solution to the South, and East, China sea disputes is to adhere to the letter and spirit of the Potsdam and Cairo declarations, and to stop applying one set of standards to China and another to other countries.
In challenging these double standards China is bound to face isolation. But it is also bound to find friends and supporters.
W. L. Chang, Discovery Bay
China risks destabilising distrust
The Chinese authorities appear to be in a tizzy awaiting a ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on the Philippines’ case against China over the Scarborough Shoal and Spratly Islands.
The double-page full colour spread (“Paracels postcard”, May 28) showing mainland “tourists” honouring the Chinese flag on a small sandbar is overdoing it. This follows on from Tung Chee-hwa’s prominent article (“On South China Sea disputes, China stands on the side of history, logic and the law”, May 25).
Mr Tung’s maritime background with his family’s shipping business gives him a good perspective on why seafaring nations may be concerned by the tongue-shaped red tide spreading over almost all the South China Sea.
Having been Hong Kong’s chief executive, Mr Tung will appreciate that people here have a strong regard for the rule of law. If China’s legal case is as strong as he suggests, surely it would have been sensible to contest the case in The Hague.
China’s view on law cases and elections appears to be the same: they are fine as long as one can know the outcome in advance. I believe using the established 12-nautical-mile territorial boundary and the 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone is the fairest and most sensible basis to solve the South China Sea disputes.
If China insists on asserting its arbitrary nine-dash line that has no stable geographic basis, there will be a growing and destabilising distrust between it and nations in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
I. M. Wright, Happy Valley
Get overseas medics to ease overcrowding
There is a severe shortage of manpower in Hong Kong’s public hospitals.
This problem gets worse during the peak flu season when some wards can have a 100 per cent occupancy rate. It can get so bad that beds have to be placed in corridors. Patients may have to wait several hours before being given a bed and nurses may have to do jobs normally assigned to doctors.
The government should be trying to alleviate this problem by hiring suitably qualified doctors and nurses from overseas.
However, citizens can also play their part to ease the overcrowding problems that exist. We should not misuse public hospitals and should only go if we have a major medical problem.
If we are not very sick, we should consider purchasing medicine from a pharmacy.
Chan Pui-yiu, Kowloon Tong