Letters to the Editor, March 26, 2017

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 March, 2017, 9:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 March, 2017, 9:00am

Poor could struggle to pay waste charge

Households will have to shell out around HK$33 to HK$55 a month when a long-awaited charging scheme to reduce waste comes into force in two years.

A system based on the “polluter pays” principle is a good way to reduce waste. Hongkongers produce too much rubbish and our landfills are nearing capacity. The city’s municipal solid waste had increased by more than 80 per cent over the past 30 years as most citizens have become better off. The waste disposal charge creates a financial disincentive that can drive behavioural changes, resulting in a cleaner environment and better quality of life.

However, I am concerned that the charge for the standard rubbish bag might place too heavy a burden on low-income families. Potential problems like this must be dealt with before the policy is implemented.

When it is introduced, the relevant department must ensure people are not illegally dumping household rubbish in the street to avoid paying the charge.

Cherry Sung, Yau Yat Chuen

Airport can deal with the competition

I do not agree with the CEO of an airline about the decline of Hong Kong International Airport (“Hong Kong in danger of losing its status as aviation hub, Qantas chief warns”, March 19).

It has been the busiest airport for international air cargo since 1996.

It’s one of the most important aviation centres for the mainland, providing efficient and reliable air cargo services with the highest standards of safety and security.

I accept there is now a lot of competition, but Cathay Pacific is the safest airline in the world and is capable of dealing with that competition.

The airport is not in danger of losing its hub status.

Wong Wai-shuen, Tsuen Wan

Unstable bricks repaired at pavement

I refer to Barbara Park’s letter (“Dangerous pavement must be repaired”, March 9) about a badly laid metal plate and unstable bricks (paving blocks) at the pavement of Lyndhurst Terrace.

I am sorry to learn that Ms Park had fallen heavily on the pavement and hope that she has made a full ­recovery.

After reading her letter, the Highways Department immediately con­ducted a site inspection and identified ­several unstable paving blocks, and the problem was rectified. ­During the inspection, we did not ­identify any metal plate on the pavement.

To keep the road network in a safe and serviceable condition, the department conducts regular inspections and carries out repair works for any identified road defects which might create a danger or inconvenience to road users.

According to the record of our last inspection conducted in February at Lyndhurst Terrace, prior to Ms Park’s letter, no metal plate was spotted on the pavement. However, minor defects arising from works carried out by utilities undertakers were identified, and were referred to the relevant parties for rectification.

The latest regular inspection was carried out on March 13. The condition of the footpath on the odd numbers side of Lyndhurst Terrace is generally satisfactory (its last ­reconstruction was in April 2016).

Regarding the footpath on the even numbers side of the road, there was no major defect except normal wear and tear of the pavement surface.

In order to further improve the condition of the pavement, we plan to reconstruct the section of footpath at the even numbers side with sand and cement bedding, upon completion of the utilities works I mentioned earlier.

We will continue to closely monitor the pavement’s condition and arrange for any interim ­maintenance works that are deemed necessary.

Humphrey Yeung, senior engineer, Highways Department

Build homes on edge of country parks

Green groups have opposed any proposal to build homes in our country parks to ease the shortage of housing. I understand their point but think the chief executive made sense during his policy address.

I think building homes on land on the edges of country parks with low ecological value could be feasible.

We face a serious housing problem in Hong Kong and need to make good use of all available land. But suitable land on the periphery of country parks should be earmarked only for public housing estates.

Serena Mak, Kowloon Tong

Golf courses are suitable sites for estates

Many countries and cities, including Hong Kong, have housing problems.

Housing shortages and high prices and rents here have forced many citizens to live in cubicle apartments and illegal metal shacks on rooftops. Their living environment is cramped, unhygienic and unsafe, as fire safety regulations are often ­ignored.

There are calls for the government to build far more public housing estates and take additional measures to bring down the prices of private flats. But it is not easy to successfully implement such policies.

More land must be found. Private golf courses can be used to build homes and land reclamation projects are feasible outside Victoria Harbour. Some land allocated for village houses can be rezoned for high-density residential development.

These proposals will be unpopular with golfers, villagers and environmentalists, but sacrifices have to be made if we are to deal with this problem.

Holden Cheng, Tseung Kwan O