Letters to the Editor, January 10, 2018
Mainland ivory trade will go underground
Many people have welcomed the decision by the Chinese government to impose a complete ban on buying and selling ivory in the country from the beginning of the year (“China imposes total ban on elephant ivory sales”, January 5).
The problem of illegal poaching of elephants is a major issue globally and it is significant that this law has been introduced as China is one of the world’s biggest markets for illegal ivory. With the new law, officials must be hoping that there will be a decrease in sales.
In fact, there is a high demand, not just for ivory, but for various parts of different animals [including endangered species], because of traditional Chinese medicine. For example, parts of the pangolin are used to treat diseases such as strokes and stomach ulcers.
Also, some people like to have ivory as a display of their wealth and social status. So there is still a market out there and a demand which illegal poachers attempt to meet.
With a total ban on the legal ivory trade, everything will go underground and so there is likely to be an increase in the illegal trade. This may force the Chinese government to fine-tune its legislation. It may need to allow the courts to impose even tougher punishment for people convicted of trading in ivory, to act as a deterrent.
A new report last year showed a drop in illegal poaching numbers for elephants in Africa, but the population is still declining because of illegal killing. It is going to take some time before we see a recovery of these populations to sustainable levels.
The fight to save these animals and stop poaching requires the cooperation of nations throughout the world. There must also be greater education to raise levels of awareness so that citizens, including those in China, recognise that it is wrong to trade in ivory.
Cindy Lam Yuk-yam, Kwai Chung
Pupils should have very clear career goals
With advances in technology, the workplace is changing rapidly. Some critics have said that many young Hongkongers are not prepared for these changes, and even with a university degree might find it difficult to get a decent job.
Some schools are helping pupils to learn life skills and so improve their prospects of finding work. They often organise internships to help young people get work experience and also offer comprehensive career guidance.
However, it is also up to the youngsters to work out clear ideas regarding their career path and work hard to achieve their goals.
They should also participate in more activities, such as student exchange programmes.
Janice Sze, Tseung Kwan O
Long-term policies needed to clean up air
I am sure most Beijing residents would agree that the air pollution problem in the capital is serious.
When thick smog envelopes the city, parents worry not just about their health but that of their children. They often express their anger about it on social media. However, despite growing concerns, the government has failed to implement effective measures.
Local authorities will sometimes introduce short-term policies, for example, banning the use of fireworks during festive periods when they are popular.
However, these are piecemeal measures as fireworks are not a major pollutant.
What are needed are tough caps on the pollution caused by factories and vehicles.
Economic development of the nation is important, but so are effective policies which will protect the environment.
Liu Hoi-yee, Yau Yat Chuen
All citizens can be far more eco-friendly
The typhoons which hit the region last year caused extensive flooding in low-lying areas and raised once again concerns about the effects of global warming. With sea levels rising and more extreme weather conditions, flooding is likely to get worse.
It is up to citizens to try and lead more sustainable lives.
We can all save energy by using less electricity. For example, there is a tendency for people to overuse air conditioning, especially during the summer, and this is a bad habit that we can change by using fans.
Donald Wong, Tseung Kwan O
Containers and sharing offer no solutions
A flat-share scheme is a measure backed by the government. Like the proposal to turn shipping containers into temporary flats, it does not offer a long-term solution to the city’s serious housing problems.
The flat-share project, with elderly “residents renting out rooms to younger tenants” was met with a cool reception from potential participants (“Elderly and young cool on idea of sharing flats”, December 20).
Most people want to own a home; they do not want to share it with anyone else. They can be understandably selfish and territorial when it comes to living space.
Also, if someone is going to rent a room, they would probably prefer to do it privately, rather than via an NGO, because they hope to get a higher rent.
Allocating sites for container homes would be a waste of land. It can be put to greater use by building public housing flats.
The government has to come up with better ideas to solve the city’s housing problems.
Ng Tsz-wing, Hang Hau