Refuse, roads, parking: will Hong Kong lawmakers show leadership on basic issues?

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 April, 2017, 5:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 07 April, 2017, 10:47pm

Hong Kong lawmakers were urged by the government last month to stop filibustering, as approval of funds for up to 9,000 public projects was far behind schedule (“Filibustering must stop to ensure funding”, March 15).

On March 29, lawmakers proposed three changes to the Legislative Council rule book in a bid to curb the marathon filibusters, which saw Legco rules being used to drag out debates on controversial government bills and cash requests, calls for amendments, quorum counts and multiple speeches.

It is pathetic how they have let the people down and it is time for Legco to demonstrate some simple and basic leadership.

This can come in a number of ways. Here are but three suggestions for immediate action.

The ability of Legco to implement anything that makes sense is sadly most debatable

One, enact stringent laws immediately to address our serious rubbish issues. Make individuals and businesses take part in mandatory recycling collections using government-provided containers of a sufficient size to collect a week’s worth of recyclable materials.

We have plenty of space to create recycling collection points across Hong Kong, and they don’t require technology but, rather, a few empty shipping containers – of which we have plenty. Then, introduce a HK$5,000 to HK$10,000 fine for any household or business failing to recycle. Anyone caught dumping their waste illegally should face 30 days’ jail time. Charge HK$2 per plastic shopping bag as the current 50 HK cents is nothing.

Second, tackle illegal parking with a firm hand. The fine should be a minimum of HK$1,500 and three-time repeat offenders should be slapped with a three-month suspension of driving privileges.

If you cannot find space to park, choose public transport. Not only do we seem to be turning a blind eye to illegal parking, how on earth could lawmakers vote down an increase in parking fines (“Still thinking of parking there? Hong Kong lawmakers slam ‘unfair’ proposal to increase fines up to ­HK$680,” March 22)?

Third, resurface our roads – which are an embarrassing patchwork of filled-in holes every 25 to 50 metres. This will reduce wear and tear on vehicles, make it safer for drivers and be better for the environment.

We pay enough in registration fees and first licence taxes to be able to afford this.

These are three simple things to implement that need no debate but would have an immediate sustainable benefit for all of Hong Kong. However, the ability of Legco to implement anything that makes sense is sadly most debatable.

Simon Constantinides, Pok Fu Lam