Letters to the Editor, September 18, 2017
‘Polluter pays’ policies can cut waste volumes
Up to 3.7 million tonnes of municipal waste was sent to Hong Kong’s landfills in 2015.
Most of our landfills have been shut and the sites have been transformed into sports grounds, parks and golf courses. Our remaining landfills are nearing capacity. The city’s waste problem is getting worse so the government needs to act.
One policy it plans to expand is the “polluter pays” principle. I agree that those who generate waste should pay for it.
Charging schemes for construction waste must be extended to all households, so that people make a greater effort to reduce the volumes of waste they generate.
There must also be tighter monitoring of what is being put into landfills, especially the kind of construction waste that could be recycled, and used on landscaping projects, for instance.
I do not think the government is spending enough on waste management.
It needs to offer extra help to the recycling sector, so that more firms are willing to get involved and we can eventually see a reduction in waste volumes in Hong Kong.
Benson Wong Tat-hin, Tseung Kwan O
Authorities fail to curb bad air in Beijing
Air pollution problems in Beijing are so bad that some expatriates and companies have moved out.
And, despite efforts by the local authorities and the central government, it does not appear to be getting better.
For those who have to stay in the capital, it is not only unpleasant having to move around outdoors when the air is so bad, it is dangerous to health, especially to respiratory systems.
Such heavily polluted air can cause asthma, bronchitis, heart disease and allergies, and even exacerbate existing medical conditions.
When weather conditions deteriorate at certain times of the year, the smog gets worse and envelopes the city. It is made worse by exhaust fumes from all the cars that clog the roads and highways. The smog is really thick and filthy.
Therefore, I can understand why some people living in the capital, including expatriates doing business there, are unwilling to stay. They are concerned not just for their own health, but also that of their children.
I am worried that if the pollution problem is not dealt with, more expatriates and Chinese professionals will leave and this could have a negative impact on the country’s economic development.
Citizens of Beijing should try and lead more environmentally friendly lifestyles, but it is really up to the authorities to introduce policies which lead to lower levels of pollution.
Christy Lam Ki-wing, Sai Kung
Bringing in more helpers is not the answer
I refer to the report (“First Cambodia, where next? Hong Kong ‘may open door’ to more foreign helpers”, August 20).
I realise that an ageing population is one of the most serious issues we face in Hong Kong.
However, I do not think that bringing in more domestic helpers from different countries is the best way to look after our elderly citizens.
Instead, the government should be coming up with a comprehensive elderly care system that is more effective than the present one.
There are many care homes and day-care centres in the city where there is substantial room for improvement, and they need the necessary resources to make these upgrades and provide a better environment.
More training places should be made available so that carers in these centres reach a good standard of professionalism.
Simply bringing in lots of domestic helpers from abroad is not the answer.
Chloe Wong, Hang Hau
Opt-out system good for organ donor register
The waiting list of people in need of an organ transplant in Hong Kong is long.
The government is considering an opt-out system where everyone is treated as a donor unless they opt out. But many Hongkongers are opposed to this policy as they do not accept the idea of donating organs.
The government needs to do more in terms of promotions so that there is a change of mindset among those still sceptical.
Sandy Chan, Tseung Kwan O
Creative teens will make city competitive
I agree with Alfred Chang Chun-chi about the need to encourage our youngsters to become more creative (“Subsidise small bookshops and help creativity”, August 24).
Globally, Hong Kong is becoming less competitive. We need a workforce in the future where more people think in creative ways. One way to achieve this is by encouraging students to read more.
If they are artistic, there should be venues made available where they can display their work. Schools should design more extracurricular activities that encourage creativity.
If more young people are helped to achieve their creative potential, they can make a better contribution to society when they start working, and this will be good news for our economy.
Zoe Wong Sui-yu, Kwai Chung