Health and wellness

Hong Kong playgrounds leaving kids exposed to hot summer sun and skin cancer risk

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2018, 4:30pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2018, 4:30pm

I am a Hong Kong permanent resident, a teacher, and mother to almost three-year-old twins. Since my twins became mobile and we started to visit the many great Hong Kong playgrounds, I realised that to enjoy the play areas during the warmer months, we would have to visit before 8am or after sunset.

I began to complain about this to my friends, who shared my frustration. This year, I caught myself complaining again, and spurred on by friends who are also parents, I emailed the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to request that they look into shading our playgrounds. I am still to hear back from them.

Thus, I started a petition stating facts supporting the need to shade children’s playgrounds. I have since collected over 2,500 signatures from our community.

Shading our playgrounds makes sense. Hong Kong has an average summer temperature of around 30 degrees Celsius and a high UV rating of 6-7 during that time. Sun exposure and sunburn in children is a risk factor for skin cancer and mostly the playgrounds get so hot that they are not usable during the daytime.

I have also shared these facts and made a request to various district councils in Hong Kong, and I am still waiting to hear from them as well. I hope our district councillors will give this issue some attention.

Claire Hewson, Sai Kung