Looking at vegetables and fruits with layers of plastic wrapping in the supermarket, I asked, “Why is there so much plastic? This is perhaps a common question children ask their parents in the supermarket. In fact, it reflects a serious problem in Hong Kong, and not enough people are paying attention to it.
People like to buy products with plastic packaging, maybe because they think it’s cleaner or more premium. Therefore, supermarkets continue to package their products in this way.
According to a joint statement from four green groups earlier this month – Green Power, Greenpeace, Green Earth and Greeners Action – Hong Kong sold nearly 200 million packages of food last year with enough plastic wrap to make twice around the Earth.
Excessive plastic packaging is especially common in Hong Kong supermarkets. Photo: Edward Wong
Plastic waste damages the environment. For example, if animals consume it, they can injure themselves or even die, which in turn will affect our food supply.
To protect the ecosystem and ourselves, the government should put in place laws that limit disposable plastic packaging. The police should cooperate with the Environmental Bureau to enforce these laws. The Environment Bureau is also expected to implement reward programs for supermarket chains that create less plastic waste.
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Companies must also move towards zero plastic packaging. Customers must bring their own containers to purchase dry items like nuts and rice. By encouraging this habit, the demand for plastic packaging can be reduced. The government should also offer financial support to these stores.
As human beings, we have a responsibility to protect the natural environment. With laws, good enforcement, reward programs, and clear goals, there will be a ray of hope for us to save the world.
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How to approach the future of education in Hong Kong
Angus Kong, Ying Wa College
I write in response to Hong Kong secondary schools lose 4,500 students and 1,000 teachers in just one year (South China Morning Post, 1st December).
This has sounded the alarm bells for our education system, and the government should take immediate action. This was clearly caused by the social unrest of 2019 and the recent implementation of the National Security Law.
There is no way for the government to resolve the current situation except by regaining the confidence of the people. However, the government can still take certain measures to reduce the impact of this emigration flight.
As people leave Hong Kong, schools in the city are faced with large numbers of students and teachers leaving. Photo: KY Cheng
The Education Office could start reducing the number of classes in schools or, if possible, closing some of the schools with low student numbers. This would centralize government resources so that they are used more cost effectively.
In addition, the government should encourage more people to join the education sector by subsidizing related university courses. This can create experienced teachers to replace those leaving Hong Kong.
Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world. The government has to deal with the current brain drain in our education system to protect the future of this city.
Hot Topics: The Emigration Leak In Hong Kong Schools
What to do if you see a wild boar
Chan Yuen-tung, Tsuen Wan Public High School
Like many other wild animals, wild boars are strong and fast. But they will only attack if they are cornered or if they feel threatened. Wild boar attacks on humans are rare. However, wild boars are common in Hong Kong, especially in rural areas.
Hong Kong authorities recently decided to capture and kill wild boars roaming urban areas after a police officer was bitten by one.
Wild boars only attack if they feel threatened. Photo: Edmond So
What to do if you see a wild boar? Although we may be afraid, we need to stay calm, stay away, and leave them alone.
Wild pigs are wary of human contact. However, if they are provoked or threatened, they can become aggressive, so we need to be careful when we see them.
Hot Topics: The Hong Kong Wild Boar Problem
Help stressed and depressed Hong Kong students
Liang Tsz-to, Tsuen Wan Public High School
Almost all students in Hong Kong suffer from stress or depression because of school.
As the exams approach, teachers give students a large amount of material and notes for revisions. They only have a few days to go over everything. Some students may be too strict with themselves and fear that their parents will berate them if they do poorly.
Most schools divide students into elite classes and regular classes. Elite students are given better resources, which is unfair to normal students. This system can undermine student confidence. If they can’t join elite classes, they can feel like garbage, which can cause more anxiety.
Hong Kong students are often very stressed about high school diploma exams. Photo: Sam Tsang
Schools should abolish the elite system and make education equitable for all students. Teachers should teach more quickly to ensure that students have enough time to study. Parents should not criticize and pressure their children too much. Instead, they need to provide support and encouragement.
Students can solve this problem by remaining optimistic and asking for help when they are having difficulty with their studies. They can also find ways to relax by reading a book or having a hot cup of tea.
I felt tired, insecure and depressed – wanted to give up. But I turned to my favorite hobby and watched an inspirational movie called Goodwill hunting (1997). It motivated me to overcome the issues I was facing.