Letters to the Editor, August 19, 2017

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 August, 2017, 9:02am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 August, 2017, 9:01am

Shortage of housing must be top priority

Finding solutions to ease the shortage of affordable housing in Hong Kong is the most urgent issue for the new government.

Hong Kong is well-known for its skyrocketing prices for a flat. There are many Hongkongers who cannot afford to buy a flat, even if they have worked very hard.

If they want to get public housing, they have to wait for at least 41/2 years, which is an unacceptably long time. While they are waiting, they may have to live in subdivided flats or cage homes where the living environment is grim and unsafe. Some underprivileged even have to sleep on the street.

This is an appalling situation in a rich, well-developed city such as Hong Kong, which boasts being Asia’s World City.

The new government must increase the supply of housing and combat market speculation which drives up prices. It should also check on the presence of well-off tenants in public flats which should by occupied by the needy.

Instead of building on rural land, the government should use under-utilised sports centres and wet markets for more housing to avoid environmental damage. Officials should also cooperate with NGOs to launch more affordable small flats.

Ho Yuk-hang, Ho Man Tin

People also have power in pollution fight

It’s easy to blame the central government for the serious problem of air pollution in China and earlier this year a group of mainland Chinese ­lawyers sued local governments over smog.

I don’t agree that inadequate government policy is the only culprit contributing to unhealthy air in Beijing, or any other major world city. Many local residents have the power to help fix the problem.

The growing number of private cars roads on the mainland is compounding already noxious exhaust emissions. If car owners limited their use or shared rides, this would be a good start.

The government has a major role, of course, and could limit the number of vehicles on the road and control the emissions from its factories to reduce the carbon footprint.

There are many places in China that have faced a serious air pollution problem for a long time, but the situation has not improved. This makes local ­people think their government is ineffective.

I think governments can publicise environmental protection measures and encourage residents to ride bicycles or walk instead of driving. Tree-planting also would be an effective tool in helping clean the air.

Carmen Wong, Kwai Chung

Carbon dioxide not clear-cut climate culprit

I refer to the letter by Lee Sai-ming, of the Hong Kong Observatory (“Human influence has been proved”, August 1) in reply to my letter (“Wrong to see carbon dioxide as a pollutant”, July 22). He repeats the claim that there is scientific consensus on carbon dioxide emission as the cause of human-induced ­climate change.

Another Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment is in the pipeline so the science cannot be already settled.

It is regrettable that Mr Lee, as an invited speaker at the Climate Change Forum: Facts and Fallacies held at the Duke of Windsor building on May 27, did not stay for my talk on “Hong Kong’s climatic record 1884-2016: a new interpretation” to exchange views on the subject. Most of my publications, including the presentation, are available on ResearchGate.

The good news based on the new interpretation on Hong Kong’s climatic record from 1884-2016 includes:

Records at Hong Kong Observatory’s headquarters station show a pause in temperature rise from 1998 to 2015;

The worst rainstorm in Hong Kong’s history on June 7, 2008 was influenced by debris from the eruption of the Chaitén volcano in Chile 35 days earlier;

Tide gauges in Victoria Harbour show a 17-year pause in sea-level rise since 1999, and;

No evidence can be found to show that carbon dioxide emission was responsible.

The purpose of the two-week experiment is to prove that heat generation is immediately responsible for local temperature rise, instead of the gradual buildup of carbon dioxide.

Your correspondent Terence Lam (“Too much carbon dioxide for one planet”, August 6) should study satellite images in arid and semi-arid regions of the world such as the River Nile basin where agricultural development and irrigation schemes have contributed to the greening of our planet.

Wyss Yim, Pok Fu Lam

MTR should act now on signal system

I refer to the report (“Hong Kong MTR to launch independent probe into 10-hour service ­disruption”, August 6) on the signalling problems on the Kwung Tong Line on August 5.

While the investigation continues, the MTR Corporation could at least immediately improve the signalling system to reduce the chances of having a another serious disruption. Those passengers affected by any service breakdown should be compensated by the MTR.

Commuters and other users are losing confidence in the MTR Corp and it needs to quickly make changes and improvements to restore faith in its service.

Colette Ho Tsz-kwai, Kwai Chung

Underage drinking curbs are essential

I am concerned about the problem of underage drinking in Hong Kong. Regulations to ­prevent teenagers from ­accessing alcohol are a must.

Drinking excessively is ­closely related to many diseases, ­including brain damage, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, cardiovascular disease and even ­cancer. Liver cancer is common among alcoholics.

Compared to adults, alcoholic drinks do more harm to adolescents because they have not fully matured. Alcohol ­affects the brain and may ­adversely impact their learning abilities. It can also trigger ­aggressive behaviour.

Regulations to stop teenagers from buying alcohol in stores or supermarkets can help.

Underage drinking can also can take a toll later when young people want children. Teens under 18 are still growing and the ethanol in beers and wines can hinder sexual development, which might lead to infertility or poor fetal growth.

Regulations must be enforced to ensure the health of our next generation.

Ho Ho Man, Ma On Shan

Bus app lag highlights official disdain

KMB has launched a mobile app that tells waiting passengers when to expect a bus .

While not 100 per cent accurate, the app does give the passengers important information that helps to save time and avoid long waits.

What have New World First Bus and Citybus done? I would say nothing. Despite launching a similar app, it only provides information for a few bus routes. The long wait for a useful app by NWFB and Citybus was a sorry failing while Anthony Cheung was the transport secretary.

This is not surprising, given that he and other senior government officials are unlikely to ever wait in line for a bus. Their daily commute is in a comfortable chauffeured car so little wonder such an app seems to have been ignored.

I guess it’s just bad luck for the many thousands who have to queue for a bus.

Joseph Lee, Quarry Bay