Letters to the Editor, July 05, 2016
Resources given to collect glass bottles
I refer to Douglas Woodring’s letter (“Glass bottle levy must be used to boost recycling projects”, June 14).
Having an efficient collection network for glass bottles is essential to glass bottle recycling. Mr Woodring thinks the recycling levy collected from the mandatory producer responsibility scheme should be hypothecated to be used to collect bottles. In our case, the levy will go to the government’s general revenue and the Environmental Protection Department will be allocated resources to collect glass bottles. The most important thing is for there to be sufficient funding for collection, which we will have.
We have been working closely with stakeholders. The glass bottle collection network now covers over 70 per cent of where people live. The new levy will enable collection contractors, hired by open tenders, to collect glass bottles at source and arrange for their reuse or recycling.
The contractors will need to meet a specified recovery target. We disagree with Mr Woodring that the contractors would not be competent. We also disagree that there is no encouragement for recycling. Bottlers who have their own collection and rebottling schemes are exempted from the levy.
Mr Woodring seems to imply that the plastic bag levy is not spent on environmental betterment and there is insufficient funding for initiatives. This levy generated revenues of HK$180 million between 2009 and 2015. The government injected HK$1 billion in early 2008 into the Environment and Conservation Fund to fund various environmental initiatives.
Samson Lai, assistant director of environmental protection
Leadership battles causing instability
Following the resignation of Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron after the EU referendum, the country faces great political uncertainty. Both the Conservatives and Labour are getting into trouble. Who will end up standing next to the dispatch boxes?
Within the government, Home Secretary Theresa May is likely to take over from Cameron. She got the most support according to a recent poll by The Independent. She backed the Remain side, but successfully avoided the media spotlight in the run-up to the referendum, gaining some respect and support from backbenchers.
I think May has certain advantages in her bid to become the next premier. She has acquired a great deal of administrative experience during her period in the Home Office. However, her stance is not clear. How will she deal with the aftermath of the referendum? Will she be able to take control and unite the Conservatives?
Michael Gove, the justice secretary, is on the list of leadership candidates. Would he be able to lead the backbenchers who backed the Remain side? Will he be able to administrate for three more years? To be honest, except for his support for Brexit, he has no outstanding strength to prove his leadership abilities.
It seems inevitable that Jeremy Corbyn will be replaced as leader of the Labour Party. He is a decent MP but lacks leadership skills. He is too idealistic about the impact of increases in welfare payments.
In fact, Cameron has successfully proved that his economic plans are feasible and Britain experienced a 2.9 per cent growth in gross domestic product in 2014. Corbyn’s criticism of spending cuts by Cameron’s government was flawed. He failed to recognise the importance of ensuring Britain’s economic recovery.
It is important to understand that the Labour Party lacks a young and powerful political star like Tony Blair when he was elected leader. It is difficult to predict if former shadow business secretary, Angela Eagle, will become the next leader of the opposition.
Add to these factors Scotland’s cry for independence and Britain faces a lot of political instability.
Justin Lam, Ma On Shan
KMB can offer elderly bus trips to beach
I write to suggest a special treat that could be offered to Hong Kong’s senior citizens by KMB.
Its No 91 bus travels between Diamond Hill and Clear Water Bay and I would suggest that it puts on extra buses every morning from 6am to 6.30am to take these old folk to the beach.
Perhaps the company is not aware that many senior citizens enjoy going to the beach to exercise. They get up early and must find it frustrating that these buses leave Diamond Hill empty to pick people up at Clear Water Bay who use the buses to commute to work.
It seems a waste of resources, when KMB could arrange for this short period in the morning to allow the pensioners to travel to the beach on vehicles which are not already full of passengers.
Ensuring the well-being and good health of elderly citizens is important in Hong Kong, which is experiencing being an ageing society.
The government should be doing more to help these residents have the opportunity to get more exercise, and large firms like KMB should also do their bit as part of their corporate social responsibility. By introducing more measures to help the elderly, we can promote a harmonious society. These measures would not cost a lot.
Christina Wong, Tseung Kwan O
HSBC should not forget the small customer
All banks, but especially HSBC, prefer customers to make deposits and withdrawals at cash machines and they discourage people from using the counter service. However, they are failing to ensure that these machines are fully functional.
For example, at one of HSBC’s busiest branches in Wayfoong House, Nathan Road, there are about 12 machines. I use this branch frequently and generally find that two or three machines are out of order. If I go after banking hours, there is no way I can make a complaint and have the problem rectified.
I have alerted them to this issue, but no one seems interested. The bank has grown too big and providing a good customer service no longer appears to be a priority. They do not care about the smaller customer and prefer to pamper their premier account clients.
I get assurances that the problem with the machines will not happen again, but it does.
At around 8.30pm on June 28, all three cash deposit machines were out of order.
HSBC’s associate bank Hang Seng is a lot better in almost every branch and keen to expand in MTR stations. By doing so, it is responding to the needs of its customers. HSBC, on the other hand, is reducing its presence in stations. I am concerned that the day may come when they get rid of their counter service. Again, this shows a disregard for the smaller clients who appreciate this service.
HSBC must be willing to help all clients, large and small.
A. L.Nanik, Tsim Sha Tsui
Use internet’s unique jargon sparingly
Textspeak is the way that many people now communicate when using the internet. It comprises a mixture of numbers, symbols and letters from the alphabet.
It is particularly popular on apps like WhatsApp when people are chatting with friends and helps you to relax and relieve stress.
It is also a fast and easy way to keep in touch as you are not writing out full words and is an easy and convenient way to express your feelings. But, as with other online activities, overuse can lead to addiction and it might spill over to other aspects of their daily lives so they start writing in textspeak without thinking.
People need to be aware that they should only use textspeak when they are online. In the real world, they must revert to a proper language.
Herry Lam Ngai-hei, Tseung Kwan O