Letters to the Editor, November 29, 2017
Fast-food chains could reduce waste
There is an urgent need to deal with Hong Kong’s waste crisis, given that landfills are nearing capacity.
Because of bad habits at home and when we go out to eat, the recycling rate in the city is still very low.
Clearly, the most efficient and effective way to cut waste is to recycle it where possible. Materials which are ending up in landfills now could be transformed into something useful, for example, waste paper and plastic could be turned into construction material.
In fact, there has been a drop in the recycling rate of plastic waste in Hong Kong. This exacerbates the crisis, as does our habit of using disposable utensils and straws in fast-food restaurants. They give these out whether the customers are eating in or buying a takeaway.
There needs to be a complete change of policy by fast-food chains such as McDonald’s and KFC. They should be using stainless steel or glass containers for drink and reusable utensils for people eating in.
Takeaway food can be put in reusable containers, with discounts given to customers who return them.
The government and global fast-food chains such as these should be taking the lead in the drive to cut waste.
Wong Lok-yi, Yau Yat Chuen
Prefab flats are suitable option for students
I would support initiatives aimed at setting up pilot schemes which provide prefabricated homes in Hong Kong, to help tackle the city’s serious housing problem.
Some of these flats could be made out of shipping containers and would provide cheaper accommodation to tenants than what they would find in the private market.
These container flats would be perfect for young people, especially university students who would struggle to pay rent outside their halls of residence.
Even if they take up part-time jobs to supplement their incomes, they are unlikely to have enough to rent a decent private flat.
I appreciate that these schemes only offer a few flats, and so the government should also offer subsidies, to help students with their rent.
The government must keep searching for suitable land that can be used for housing.
Converting a golf course, for example, into a site for public housing, is a far better option than reclamation. Land reclamation will damage marine ecosystems.
Beatrice Young, Lai Chi Kok
Traditional shopping has its own charm
The annual Singles’ Day earlier this month in China showed how far online shopping has come since its early years.
This started as a minor trend that has gone viral, with people able to make payments for goods with just a few key strokes, and they can do so whenever they want. It has led to speculation that eventually the popularity of online purchasing will see traditional shops replaced .
People can also use the internet to check out what other consumers think about a product they may be considering buying.
However, there is a downside to shopping on the internet. In a store you can pick up the goods and examine them, but online you will only have a photo to look at. Also, there is the pleasant experience to be gained from going into a shop with friends, and trying on clothes to decide if you want them.
Going shopping in malls with peers is enjoyable, as you are interacting with others.
Although I have no doubt that events like Singles’ Day will grow in popularity and keep generating enormous revenue, I do not see traditional stores being replaced by virtual markets in the near future.
Cheung Shui-man, Kowloon Tong
Obsession with smartphone poses a risk
Pedestrians should not be looking at their smartphones when out on the street, because they then tend to ignore what is happening around them.
I even see people crossing a road while still looking at their phone screen, and ignoring the “don’t walk” red sign.
This must have led to an increase in traffic accidents.
People need to be more aware of the potential risks involved in not paying attention when you are out walking in the busy streets of Hong Kong.
Sammi Siu Lok-shan, Shek Kip Mei
Diners should take initiative in restaurants
I refer to the report about the Consumer Council and the Centre for Food Safety finding very high levels of salt in some of the most popular Hong Kong-style dishes (“Choice of restaurant may be the key to healthier eating”, November 16).
Their study also revealed wild discrepancies in the levels of nutrients in the same dishes ordered from different restaurants.
What this study shows is that it is up to diners to ask restaurants to put less salt in a dish when they order it.
If they have any misgivings, they should just avoid the dish and choose a healthier option.
If the dish comes with a sauce, they can ask for it to be served separately, so that they can decide how much of it they want to use.
I support the plan to expand a calorie label scheme that operates on a trial basis at 20 public hospital canteens.
Heidi Wan, Tseung Kwan O