By: Sharon Pun、Candice WongEdited by: Richelia Yeung、Ellen He

Health & Environment

Flexitarian: an easy way to go green

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Sharon Pun、Candice WongEdited by: Richelia Yeung、Ellen He
  • 2017-11-21

To become a flexible vegetarian in Hong Kong "I'd like to have the Pesto Chicken Salad, but please take away the chicken," said Ms. Chan at a bakery cafe. Her friend surprisingly asked her, "What? You're taking away the best part of the dish!" This is a situation often encountered by Chan Wun, but her diet habit is different from that of traditional "vegetarians". She is a member of a rising group, "flexitarians", a combination of "flexible" and "vegetarians". The number of flexitarians rose from 5% in 2008 to 22% in 2016, while vegetarians only account for 3% of Hong Kong's population. Up till 2017, over 1,000 restaurants in Hong Kong have joined an initiative programme to offer vegetarian-friendly menus, according to a social startup, Green Monday. "In order to lose weight, I had become a vegetarian for around two months during high school," said Ms. Chan, an 18-year-old university student. She had no choice but to constantly ordered Indian curry since it was the only vegetarian choice at school. Things become more difficult during family gatherings. When Ms. Chan's mother cooks vegetarian meals for her non-vegetarian father and brother often complain that the meals lacked protein. "It is difficult to avoid eating meat especially when we are living in Chinese culture where specific cuisines and dishes will be offered during celebratory events and festivals," said Ms. Chan. "Then I decided to quit because of inconvenience, time cost and expense." Instead of being a strict vegetarian, she opted for a flexitarian-style diet. In fact, the problem was not faced just by Ms. Chan when she was a vegetarian. To Hiu-yan, 20, a university student who has been a vegetarian for two years, said that the once-athlete started this eating habit to keep fit.   Ms. To said she faced limited …

Labour Unions: Government Fails to Reach out to Elderly Home Workers

  • 2017-10-11
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Wing Li、Dorothy Ma、Kobie Li、Alexandra LinEdited by: Richelia Yeung、Tiffany Lui、Celia Lai、Isabella Lo、Daisy Lee、James Ho
  • 2017-10-11

The government will consider importing labour to elderly care units and provide additional resources to increase wages for care workers, said Carrie Lam as she introduce her first Policy Address this afternoon. Hong Kong's aging problem is escalating as reflected by the projected growth of elderly population from 16.6% in 2016 to 31.1% in 2036, according to the Census and Statistics Department. Due to the acute shortage of workforce lies in the local elderly-care sector, the city has been employing non-local care workers to cater the needs in self-financing elderly care homes. Now that the government calls for labour importation to its subsidised care homes, some labour unions criticised the government of lacking long-term consideration, attributing the issue to low salary and long working hour of care workers. Poon Wai-yin, chairman of Hospitals, Clinics and Nursing Workers Union, said that increase in wage alone is not enough to tackle the issue. "The government cannot force the employers to increase the wage of care workers. There is no legal binding except for the minimum wage," Poon emphasised The Union demands an eight-to-nine-hour long standard working time. Care workers now could work up to 11 hours per day with a basic salary of $9,800 and a ceiling of $13,000, according to Poon. Tsang Kei-nam, Organizing Secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, is concerned about the qualification of foreign care workers, which is hard for the labour department to verify if their overseas training can provide sufficient techniques  for caring work in Hong Kong. Yet, Chan Chun-wing, a senior nurse from Yan Chai Hospital Lee Wai Siu Kee Elderly Home stated that "it will not be a problem to have foreign or mainland care assistants as long as they have qualifications," Labor Union argues that the shortage of manpower in …

Bus Drivers Forced To Work Overtime

  • 2017-10-04
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Wing Li、Alexandra Lin、Dorothy Ma、Kobie LiEdited by: Richelia Yeung、Tiffany Lui、Choco Tang
  • 2017-10-04

The Federation of Bus Industry Trade Union is calling for shorter working hours and higher salaries for Hong Kong bus drivers, after a fatal bus accident killed three people in Sham Shui Po last week. Lau Kai-him, officer of the Union, said that bus companies have an unhealthy pay structure that forces bus drivers to work overtime. Hong Kong has five franchised bus companies, including Citybus, which was involved in the recent accident, and numerous minibuses and other non-franchised buses. Chu, a Citybus driver who didn't want to reveal his full name, said he works 10 to 12 hours a day, depending on the route he is assigned. He calls this a disguised form of compulsory overtime. "You need to do it when the company assigned it to you," Chu said. Lau also said the drivers don't make enough money without working overtime, another reason for longer working hours. The basic salary for a bus driver starts from around $12,000 for new drivers up to around $15,000 for drivers with good records, including no customer complaints, Chu said. Nowadays more and more passengers like to complain, Chu said. But bus companies advertise a salary of $19,000 to attract new drivers; however, this includes overtime, Lau said. Bus companies need to hire more drivers to reduce the need for overtime, he added. Lau is saying bus companies are having a hard time attracting new blood. "If we only decrease the working hours without raising the salary, the problem cannot be solved," Lau said. "Our bus company has never forced the drivers to work overtime. If the drivers think their working hours are too long, they can ask for a switch," said Wong Ka-lok, Director of Citybus Branch.  

A huge obstacle to Hong Kong recycling industry

  • 2017-09-14
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Elisa Luk、Erica Chin、Li Wing Kiu、Kobie LiEdited by: Celia Lai、Richelia Yeung、Tiffany Lui
  • 2017-09-14

  Hong Kong recycling operations can no longer export local scrap paper to the mainland due to a national ban on importing foreign solid waste. Issued in July, the policy notice stated that China will no longer import 24 types of waste including unsorted scrap paper and waste plastic by the end of this year. Despite being a special administration region, Hong Kong cannot export any waste paper to the mainland for recycling. A local recycling shop operator, Ng Siu-po, said the price of paper has already dropped by half due to the release of the policy. Ng said the price level of waste paper is now $500 per metric ton, which was a thousand per metric ton, and expected the price to drop further after it is put into practice. The profit his business gained has dropped a third. He is pessimistic towards the recycling industry in Hong Kong. "Selling waste paper is the main source of income of my business. If the mainland stops importing waste paper, there is no other places for us to sell the waste paper and I may need to close down my recycling shop," Ng said. Wendell Chan, the project officer of Friends of the Earth, added that China is the biggest importer of Hong Kong's recyclable waste, which constitutes about 98%. Chan predicted the recyclable will be sent to the landfills instead without the normal exit channels.          Ms Au, who collects waste paper for a living, said that her income has fallen by half due to lowered price of scrap paper. She added that her monthly income was about $3000 to $4000 in the past but now her income is only about $2000. "I hope that the Hong Kong Recycle Materials & Re-Production Business General Association Limited can bargain with the …