Letters to the Editor, November 2, 2017
Carrying own water can cut plastic waste
I refer to your report on the Environment Bureau’s plans to reduce plastic waste in the city (“Hong Kong government vending machines to ditch small water bottles”, November 23).
Water bottles are a major source of plastic waste in the city, with almost 5.2 million sent to the landfills each day. A major reason for this is that Hong Kong people are not used to carrying water bottles, thinking this will make their bags heavier, and prefer to buy at supermarkets or convenience stores instead.
However, I don’t think removing plastic water bottles from vending machines can effectively reduce plastic waste. First of all, vending machines are not the main point for sale for plastic bottles, as most of them are bought from supermarkets and convenience stores.
Although the government can lead the way on reducing plastic waste through this plan, I believe it would still be useless in fully tackling the problem.
For that, we would have to give up buying bottled water. We should make it a habit to carry our own water, as not doing this is the primary reason behind the mounting plastic waste. The government could encourage such green habits with television advertisements, for example.
We have to change our mindsets and habits if we wish to protect the environment.
Ivy Fung Ho-ching, Yau Yat Chuen
Take Taiwan’s lead on boost for recycling
I am writing in response to your editorial on plastic waste (“Welcome step to cut use of plastic bottles”, November 28). I agree that the government can do a lot more to cut waste in Hong Kong. Plastic bottles are most often sold because of their low cost of production. Producers bear no responsibility to recycle or reduce the materials used, in the absence of any law on this.
Take Taiwan, where the government has a well-planned policy on waste reduction. Its government uses the money from waste charging for a fund to promote recycling. Thus, it can ensure recyclers have a reasonable return and so promote the reduction of waste.
I think the Hong Kong government can offer subsidies to encourage producers to collect plastic bottles made by their company from consumers.
I hope more people can understand the importance of protecting our Earth together by doing a small thing like choosing not to buy plastic bottles.
Zoe Liu Sze-yui, Kwai Chung
Good cabbies are not extinct in Hong Kong
Flying back from a business trip to Mumbai recently, I decided to take a cab home to Wan Chai.
When I arrived, I realised I had left my phone in the taxi. It was an iPhone 7 Plus and my initial thought was that I would never get it back. I went down to the office of the security guard who helped me dial my number. The first time, no one answered. But the second time around, the taxi driver picked up.
The security guard spoke to him in Cantonese and requested that he return the phone to Sun Hung Kai Centre in Wan Chai. By then the taxi was in Chai Wan but the driver still agreed to come all the way to return my phone.
He was there within about 10 minutes, and I couldn’t believe my luck that I got my phone back. It was not so much about the device itself, but my phone had multiple documents, pictures, videos and, most importantly, my contacts list.
I thought this story must be shared because we tend to get only negative stories about taxi drivers, how they refuse fares, how their rash driving causes accidents, how rude they are, and so on. But people need to realise that there are some in that fraternity who are honest and want to just do their job well and get back to their families.
Our cab drivers deserve kudos for the good they do, instead of always taking flak.
Rajiv Chaudhari, Wan Chai
Parents can be best teacher of life skills
I refer to your report on Hong Kong secondary school pupils placing third in a global ranking on collaborative problem-solving skills (“Hong Kong pupils among top problem-solvers”, (November 21). The tests included an assessment of how well 15-year-olds pupils worked together to solve problems.
Problem-solving is an important skill for children, which will stand them in good stead later in life as well. However, parents as the problem-solvers in the family have a big role in this.
If they tend to over-parent instead of teaching children how to solve problems independently, they will never learn how to cope with challenges in life. They will become dependent on their parents to resolve all problems and fail to learn vital life skills.
If children can develop their skills to become problem-solvers, this will help them gain self-confidence and boost their self-esteem. For example, when completing a task with problem-solving requirements, they will have to orchestrate roles within a team and identify information needed to achieve their goal.
Also, problem-solving can teach children how to collaborate and work together. In some situations, they may need to communicate or work with pupils they don’t know or who are from other cultures. Problem-solving skills can help them better adapt to such conditions.
Jessie Leung Cheuk-yau, Yau Yat Chuen
City needs to get smarter with transport
Having recently travelled to Singapore, I cannot help but agree that Hong is falling behind on the smart city stakes (“Hong Kong trails Singapore on smart city index”, November 8).
I noticed that in the Lion City, things as seemingly trivial as public transport routes on Google Maps are better integrated. For example, you can easily identify real-time bus arrival.
Although Hong Kong has recently introduced this feature, information remains limited, as bus operators would much rather have you use their clunky proprietary mobile apps than contribute towards an integrated solution.
At the end of the day, all commuters want is a single easy-to-use app like that of Google Maps. Even tourists not familiar with our local mobile apps would benefit from having accessible, real-time route planning.
Bus operators should not complain that the MTR is stealing their business when critical aspects of the journey such as this are neglected.
The Transport Department’s eTransport app remains far from a replacement, given its sluggish interface and limited functions. If Hong Kong is to truly become a smart city, the private and public sector must work more closely to exchange information. Starting with sharing real-time data.
Samuel Chan, Wan Chai
Country parks should be left as they are
I refer to the report on the government’s housing development plans (“Study into building on Hong Kong country parks faces scrutiny”, November 24).
I think the government should not build homes in the fringes of country parks, because that would damage the ecological diversity of these areas. The parks are home to many animals and, if the government wants to develop this land for housing, they will lose their habitat.
Such housing projects will also increase visual pollution in the city, as green areas will be greatly reduced, with high rises taking their place. This will also add to the heat island effect and exacerbate global warming.
Hilary Lee, Tseung Kwan O