Letters to the Editor, March 13, 2017

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 March, 2017, 4:22pm
UPDATED : Monday, 13 March, 2017, 4:22pm

Electric cars lead to lower pollution levels

What’s most upsetting about Paul Stapleton’s letter (“Electric vehicles harm the environment and don’t deserve a tax discount”, March 5) is that he used incorrect information to support his take that electric vehicles should not get a tax break.

In this day and age of “fake news”, it is critical that all claims are backed by credible and unbiased sources, and that ­references are cited.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is a trusted non-profit science advocacy organisation, founded in 1969 by faculty and students of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In their late 2015 report, “Cleaner Cars from Cradle to Grave”, this is what they stated about battery electric vehicles: “From cradle to grave, BEVs are cleaner. On average, BEVs representative of those sold today produce less than half the global warming emissions of comparable gasoline-powered vehicles, even when the higher emissions associated with BEV manufacturing are taken into consideration.”

The two models they used to carry out tests were the Nissan LEAF and Tesla Model S.

Contrary to what Stapleton said about “rare metals”, the chairman and CEO of Tesla, ­Elon Musk, tweeted on April 8 that, “Battery uses no rare earth metals. Main ingredient is ­nickel, which is what’s used to coat cutlery, so very non-toxic.”

Also, your correspondent ­neglects to mention the biggest reason by far that nearly all governments provide incentives for EVs: these help to reduce roadside pollution. As one commentator said, “Would you rather be on a street with 30 petrol and diesel cars idling their engines around you? Or would you rather be surrounded by 30 electric cars ­idling around you?”

It is indisputable that EVs help to reduce roadside pollution, produce far less pollution than their gasoline counterparts in their entire life cycle, will only get cleaner over time as the electricity grid gets cleaner (while petrol cars get dirtier as they age), and help to combat climate change – all amounting to massive benefits to society.

Therefore, EVs absolutely deserve the full tax waiver and further support, including a ­better charging infrastructure.

To think that all members of society can and should use 100 per cent public transport to get around is unrealistic. Stapleton’s anti-EV stance and the Hong Kong government’s new tax on EVs will only result in more roadside pollution. Sadly, the most harm will be done to those who take public transport.

Derek Tom, Pok Fu Lam

Dirtier world is putting us at greater risk

I refer to your report on smog leading to antibiotic resistance, about bacteria affecting humans becoming more difficult to treat because of pollution.

As countries become more developed, they create more pollution. Industries when they expand often use more chemicals, which pollute the air, soil and water sources.

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is shocking. Companies burn a lot of fossil fuel and some farms overuse pesticides to stop crops being infected and ruined. All of these actions harm the ­environment and humans.

If this bacteria does mutate because of pollution, it will be more difficult for doctors to treat. This is a major problem that must be ­addressed.

Liu Hoi-yee, Yau Yat Chuen

It makes sense for schools to snub new BCA

Many schools have indicated that they do not want to take part in the new Basic Competency Assessment (BCA), with teachers saying it will cause them additional stress.

They say they will have to make the extra effort to help ­students do well in BCA tests, which will mean extra work.

This new assessment is a clear indication that something is wrong with the whole education system in Hong Kong. The Education Bureau seems to have forgotten the real meaning of education, which should be about imparting knowledge to ­students and helping them to find their talent.

Instead, it focuses on schools getting good results in exams. Less pressure should be placed on students, but this is not ­happening.

Kapo Ng, Kowloon Tong

Government should boost e-sports in city

Electronic sports has really taken off in many countries around the world, especially the US and South Korea, but this is not happening in Hong Kong.

There are now many tournaments worldwide, including, for example, the League of Legends World Championship. They are broadcast live and make the winners very rich.

Some critics say it is not a genuine sport, but I disagree and think the government in Hong Kong should allocate more ­resources to developing e-sport.

So far, it has allocated very little to developing e-sport in the city; this is not enough if e-gaming is to do well here. There must be financial subsidies and ­device support.

The fact is that e-sport has tremendous financial potential. There are companies willing to promote it and show it on ­television, so it can help with Hong Kong’s economic ­development.

It can enhance the economic development of the information technology sector and create more jobs in IT companies, which again will help Hong Kong’s economy.

Coco Chow, Tseung Kwan O

Action needed to cut back on working hours

Hong Kong is becoming less popular with expatriates, thanks to its being associated with working long hours (“Overworked expat women just can’t get no satisfaction”, March 11).

Working long hours can lead to health problems, such as ­obesity and heart disease. It can ­affect family relationships as well, as people can’t spend quality time with family members.

The government has been discussing a standard working hours law for some time. Supporters of this legislation say long hours do not lead to better productivity. However, despite debates and discussions, no consensus has yet been reached.

I believe the government has to try and make some progress. Also, companies should implement family-friendly employment practices. For example, there should be compassionate leave, a five-day work week, home-based work options and a nursery room in offices. Family recreational activities should also be organised.

These initiatives can actually make people more productive.

Working hours in Hong Kong are among the longest in the world. The government and companies have a responsibility to deal with this.

Joyce Li Hei-ying, Yau Yat Chuen

Lotte boycott wrong reaction to missile row

At least 23 Lotte Mart supermarkets were shut in mainland China, after many Chinese citizens boycotted it because the South Korean company agreed to provide land to its government to host an advanced US missile ­defence system.

The Chinese central government is very angry about the system being located in South Korea, which is why so many citizens decided not to shop at Lotte stores.

I don’t think their actions were justified. Lotte Mart clearly had to heed the request of the government in Seoul to ­supply this land. I don’t think the system will have a negative effect on China.

The boycott hurts mainland citizens, because it means they have fewer shopping choices.

Luk Pak-lam, Tsuen Wan