Letters to the Editor, October 31, 2016

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 October, 2016, 3:55pm
UPDATED : Monday, 31 October, 2016, 3:55pm

Special needs inmates need real protection

I support those protesters who marched last weekend to ­demand reforms in the way the government monitors care homes (“Protesters demand ­reform of care homes”, October 24).

They were voicing their ­concerns over allegations of abuse at a care home for people with special needs. The government must review its policies with ­regard to monitoring these homes.

An ordinance has been passed, but some homes have an exemption of three years ­before they have to meet the ­requirements in the ordinance. This is too long a time frame. Also, the government must ensure there are inspections and that there is more monitoring of these homes and more rigorous inspections, which can help to curb abuse of inmates.

Laws must be changed to ­ensure greater protection of people with special needs, which can help cases of alleged sexual abuse actually get to court.

The government has to learn from the allegations of abuse and make the necessary legal changes so that people with special needs who are in homes get the protection they need.

Cally Kong Tsz-yiu, Hang Hau

Buses are the main polluters, not private cars

Ariel Kong (“Air filters won’t fix our city’s poor air quality”, October 28) says children need to understand the causes of pollution and “get into the habit of using public transport”. And adds that hopefully when they grow up they will choose not to buy a car and “we will have fewer ­polluting vehicles on our roads”.

If she would read the Environment Bureau’s March 2013 paper on pollution, “A Clean Air Plan”, she would know that private vehicles account for a tiny fraction of the pollution caused by ­commercial vehicles and buses, especially the old ones.

On page16, she would see a graphic and the numbers: for particulate pollution, goods vehicles produced 890 tonnes, buses 270 tonnes and private cars just 20 tonnes annually (1.72 per cent of the total for buses plus goods vehicles); for nitrogen oxides, the numbers show goods vehicles produced 36,950 tonnes, buses 9,640 tonnes and private cars just 890 tonnes (1.91 per cent of buses plus goods vehicles).

Overall, buses (about 20,000 of them) produce 11 to 14 times the pollution of the 500,000 ­private cars in Hong Kong. Buses do carry more people, on average, but commercial vehicles and buses remain the overwhelming source of Hong Kong’s roadside pollution.

That Ariel Kong misses this point shows the success of the transport lobby in obscuring it, and highlights the immorality of their continuing refusal to ­protect the health of ­­ ­Hongkongers, old and young.

Paul Serfaty, Mid-Levels

Equal penalties for those who break the rules

I cannot accept the actions of an elderly cleaner who was fined HK$1,500 for dumping waste water in a street in Wan Chai or her employer for paying it.

Just because someone is underprivileged does not mean they should not be punished if they have done something wrong, in this case emptying waste water in the street. If she had broken regulations then she had to accept punishment. If she was struggling to pay the fine, then she could have been given more time to pay it.

We all have to be responsible for our actions and recognise the importance of cracking down on pollution on our streets.

We have to recognise that all stakeholders have to play their part in ensuring society is ­orderly and that we all stick to the necessary rules.

Kris Lam, Sham Shui Po

Motivation of China is clear and dangerous

Your recent editorials about conflict in the South China Sea cannot go unchallenged.

Despite your condemnation of US ships navigating these seas, there is in fact only one country that is causing ­problems in this area of the world, and that country is China.

An international tribunal has found no evidence for Chinese claims to parts of the South China Sea (and let’s be frank, China is more or less claiming the entire thing), yet you declare the US to be a troublemaker for sailing its ships there.

The entire world knows what China is doing. It is building bases and airstrips and docks atop bits of coral and rock. Points for engineering, but the sole purpose of this is to establish Chinese domination of these international waterways.

You fail to point out the ­danger of these Chinese ­incursions, and instead ­condemn the US.

You depict the recent Philippines’ tango with China as a ­positive development,yet it is clearly a dance in which the partners are not equal.

Bullying your neighbours into accepting what you have staged holds few good portents for them.

I welcome further American naval excursions through the South China Sea in response to China’s nationalist aggression.

Gerard Crawford, Lam Tin

Natural beauty of rural areas often ignored

Although Hong Kong is often thought of as a concrete jungle, it actually has a lot of natural ­attractions and many citizens fail to appreciate or use them. Most of the territory is rural and within easy reach of urban areas. Apart from hiking trails in our country parks, we also have the Unesco Global Geopark.

Many adults work such long hours that they feel they do not have time to visit these rural areas and get some exercise. It is the same for students who have to attend various tutorial classes and extracurricular activities. It is a pity because as the weather gets cooler, it is a perfect time to enjoy the countryside. The ­government should try harder to encourage citizens to go to country parks more ­often and get close to nature.

The geopark is also rated as a major natural attraction and is a world-class tourist attraction. The government should try to enhance the transport links to these locations to make it easier for tourists to reach them. It should also do more to advertise these natural attractions abroad.

All these places offer affordable entertainment where families can hike and have a barbecue. They are all free to ­access and it is a shame that so many people do not use them, especially citizens from the grass roots who cannot afford to pay gym membership fees.

With more advertising of these rural retreats, usage ­numbers among citizens and tourists will increase.

Minnie Dong Xiaolin, Kowloon Tong

HK not ready for opt-out donor law

The rate of organ donation ­continues to be very low in Hong Kong.

Thousands of citizens are waiting for a transplant and many will die before one ­becomes available. One of the ­reasons for the low rate is to do with traditional Chinese beliefs. This can even mean that relatives will refuse to allow organs to be harvested even if the ­person ­registered as a donor.

The health authorities must try harder through education to encourage more people to ­register. With education, more people will recognise the importance of the organ donor ­register.

Some countries have an ­opt-out law where you are automatically considered a donor unless you opt out. However, I do not think this is the right time to introduce such a law in Hong Kong. It takes time to change cultural attitudes and many people would object strongly to an opt-out law.

Wendy Wong Wai-ting, Sham Shui Po