Health & Environment

Health & Environment

Coronavirus is changing Hong Kong residents' daily routine

Coronavirus is spreading in Hong Kong. Since the Lunar New Year, local  residents have been searching for surgical masks, hand sanitizers and disinfectant. Three weeks after the lunar new year, the supply of face masks is still under the demand. The Hong Kong government tried to purchase surgical masks from other parts of the world but they still cannot provide a stable supply of masks. Some Hong Kong residents are panicking about the lack of face masks and spending hours queuing up for a box of masks. Some organisations distribute free face masks to elderlies in communities. The situation on valentine’s day is still the same.  

Health & Environment

What happens if a COVID-19 case is found in your building?

XI'AN---- A plastic rope hung from a window on the third floor of a residential building. In the garden downstairs, a man tied a courier box to the rope and the box was then pulled up. This is a way for residents living in Unit One of Building One of Zhongjian Kaiyuan City to obtain items while the unit is blocked. Zhongjian Kaiyuan City is a residential community located in the west of Xi'an, Shanxi province. On February 14, a resident of Unit One of Building One was found to be a suspected case of the novel coronavirus. There was a confirmed case found in the same community on February 4.  According to the work plan of the local government on epidemic prevention and control, as long as there is one suspected case in one unit, the entire unit will be blocked for 14 days, no one can enter or leave.  The security personnel set up a simple movable boardroom out of the unit on February 15, on duty 24 hours to prevent anyone from entering and leaving at will. If residents need daily necessities, such as vegetables and fruits, they need to ask friends or call delivery service to send the items to the property office. Staff will disinfect the items and then send them to the household door to door. "It is really inconvenient to follow this way. We think that we can also avoid infection with our method," said Tian Mimeng, 46, who lives on the third floor of the blocked unit. She and her family camp up with a new method - using a plastic rope to 'fish' items from downstairs.  Ms. Tian said the property office called her to collect the information and health status of her family members. Before the unit was blocked, although …

Health & Environment

The Southern District council members in Ap Lei Chau are selling masks to the needy

All the shops on Ap Lei Chau main street are still open as normal even though one of the residents nearby has been confirmed to have the coronavirus. People are walking around, buying groceries and eating in the restaurants as usual. However, some people are so worried about the shortages of daily necessities like masks and toilet paper who have emptied in the supermarkets. Chan Ping-yeung, a councilor of Ap Lei Chau North, started selling masks online with other council members last week.  He thinks that people are more willing to help their neighbors during the epidemic. "Both restaurants and local residents have been donating bleach, hand sanitizers and masks for free to those who are in need," says Chan. "I didn't get the masks, because I have sufficient masks. So, I want to share it with others," Lam Chin-hei, 21, says.  The first coronavirus case has been confirmed on February 9, 2020.  Chan agrees that there are sufficient masks for the elderly in Ap Lei Chau, which six out of the eight elderly houses can get adequate prevention supplies.  However, Chan feels disappointed that the communication with the government has been difficult. "The government prioritizes the political issues. They rejected all my suggestions just because I am not from the pro-establishment camp. They argue for nothing instead of really dealing with the virus. It made me very angry," explains Chan. As the office of the Home Affairs Bureau has been closed for two weeks, the district council was forced to hold a meeting outside the tennis court. Although the district council has approved five hundred thousand dollars funding to buy more epidemic prevention supplies, the councilor of Ap Lei Chau North says that the administrative process of claiming the money has been frustratingly slow.  

Health & Environment

The inconvenience of online classes

Universities in Hong Kong are conducting classes online. However, not everyone finds the arrangement convenient. Zoom is widely used for online lectures in universities such as Hong Kong Baptist University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and City University of Hong Kong. This software supports video conferences with up to 1,000 people, participants can share their screen, lecturers teach in this way via sharing powerpoints with students. People are having privacy concerns towards the "zoom (the online learning platform that people can participate with videos and audios)" lectures since they are afraid that turning on the camera will leak out their messy room and surroundings. Some students have complained about regulations set by their lecturers for online classes.  "I hope lecturers can respect students if they are unwilling to switch on their cameras during class," said a post on CUHK secrets, a Facebook page that allows students to express their thoughts anonymously. This post has gained 347 likes. "A classroom is a public area but your home is not. Not everyone wants others to see what his or her home looks like," Alvin Leung, a netizen who commented on the post. Others though think that the camera can be used to maintain order during class. "How can lecturers know whether you are concentrating on the class if you don't show your face? It's weird that a lecturer only talks to himself or herself. We need communication," Cheung Mok-yan, another netizen who commented under the post and got 68 likes. Online classes also disrupt family life. Emily Fong, a 20-year-old university student who is off school because of the coronavirus outbreak thinks online classes are not efficient. She complains that she seems to be having lectures with her father.  "His voice is just too loud and I can hear every word that …

Health & Environment

Vegan Food Fest promotes a plant-based living

The Boston Vegetarian Society held the 24th Annual Boston Veg Food Fest  in a sports stadium in Massachusetts last Saturday with over 100 vendors participating to advocate a plant-based diet, meanwhile promoting animal and environmental protection. Vendors at the Fest sold a large range of products from vegan food to sports gear. "We see whose books are coming out and who we think are the community we really like to hear from. We also look around to local restaurants turfs," said David Havelick, a key member of the Boston Vegetarian Society. According to Mr. Havelick, the first Boston Veg Food Fest, held in 1996, was born out of an idea from a group of vegetarians and vegans at Massachusetts Institute of Technology when "vegan" was a new concept to people and often mispronounced. In 2018, 3% of the American population declared vegans. However, the rate of vegetarians has remained 5% to 6% since 1999, according to a Gallup investigation. Google Trends suggests that searches of "vegan" in America have roughly sextupled since 2004, while those of “vegetarian” have remained the same. At the Fest, the vegan carrot cake from Cafe Indigo attracted many customers. The owner, Paul Dann, started their business when he and his wife made a vegan wedding cake to their vegetarian daughter as they were lack of choices in local bakeries back then. Viviana Wilches, a vendor of Shakti Warrior, had her table mottled by a variety of yoga mats made of cork, hemp fabric and natural true rubber.  "Yoga mats are made of plastics and they're not eco-friendly, and they end up in the landfill. We want to make a product that stays true to the practice and wellness and make sure it's not toxic," Ms. Wilches said. "A plant-based and vegan lifestyle is about everything …

Health & Environment

Hong Kong Sevens rolls out reusable pint cup initiative to combat plastic waste

The Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) is set to introduce 250,000 reusable pint cups as part of its sixth annual "Green Rugby" campaign, with an aim to cut down on single-plastic use at this year’s Rugby Sevens tournament. According to the HKRU, around 200 tonnes of waste was produced at the three-day mega-event amongst the 120,000 spectator in attendance in 2013, but the number was down by 100 tonnes as of 2016. This year, patrons would be asked for a HK$10 deposit paid either through cash or Octopus card for a reusable stack cup produced from fully-recycled plastic, which would be subsequently assembled, cleaned, and sanitized for reuse by local social enterprise BottLess over the course of the game and other non-rugby events, according to the HKRU. The Green Rugby is focused on providing not just a green campaign, but to also aim to work with local companies like Diwash to handle all of their dishware cleaning. Aside from working with the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), the Leisure and Cultural Department (LCSD), as well as large mainstream beverage suppliers like Carlsberg and Swire Coco-Cola Hong Kong, the HKRU has also partnered with local sustainability consultancy The Purpose Business to streamline and monitor the operation of the campaign. Dr. Merrin Pearse represents The Purpose Business based in Hong Kong and the Philippines. One of their main aims is to  reduce waste at the Sevens in 2019. "This Green campaign is the 6th year running, every year we aim to do something more," said Dr. Pearse. In previous years, the Green Rugby campaign has tackled food waste and eliminated plastic straws. This year was the first year it aimed to eliminate single-use plastic. In 2018, 61 tonnes of general refuse was collected from the event, marking a 48% of reduction from 2017. …

Health & Environment

Weekend review: veganism struggles to grow in Hong Kong

People believe it costs more time and money to produce animal-free food and products in Hong Kong. Last weekend, PMQ Central held the first international trade fair and conference for vegan  living, VeggieWorld Hong Kong. And guests including nutritionists and company founders gave speeches inspire the Hong Kong community to live a vegan lifestyle. Vegan food has been the spotlight in the market. The first VeggieWorld Paris in 2016 attracted 6000 to 8000 visitors with the vegan products , such as superfoods, food supplements and meat and dairy alternatives. More than 50 vegan-friendly brands gathered in VeggieWorld Hong Kong to showcase visitors different types of vegan produce as alternatives for the regular ones like chips, chocolate, bread and cheese. Sarah, a foreigner who is living in Hong Kong, said she was glad to have discovered Mayse Artisan Bakery based in Tai Mei Tuk, a bread store which produces plant-based and gluten-free bread, because she has been suffering from gluten-intolerant.   She said despite the fact that the store is far for her, she is happy to start seeing vegan alternatives around because there had not been much choices in Hong Kong for her before.    Mikus, one of the owners of Mayse Artisan Baker, said although the ancient formula he uses to bake their gluten-free bread is successful, it takes them a maximum of  two days to produce a single loaf of bread. "Most of the bakeries nowadays use bleached flour and instant yeast to make bread faster for sales, but the outcome  is not good at all," said Mikus. Holding her new foldable recycle cup while strolling along stalls in the fair, visitor Jenn, who is not a vegetarian, dropped by briefly knowing there were recyclable cups, which she had "always wanted" on sale.   Though impressed by the creativity …

Health & Environment

Hong Kong students boycott classes for global Climate Change Strike

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Katherine Li、Wallis Wang、Rachel YeoEdited by: Vimvam Tong、Oasis Li
  • 2019-03-16

Around 1,000 demonstrators composed mostly of students boycotted classes this Friday in protest against insufficient government policies to combat climate change as part of a global environmentalist movement. The students handed a letter to representatives of the Environment Bureau and of the Chief Executive, with demanding more renewable energy and establishing youth representatives within the Steering Committee on Climate Change in Hong Kong as the main focus. "Hong Kong accounts for so much of the carbon dioxide emissions," said Emily Tarr, a 17 year-old student of Southern Island School who is one of the three organisers of the local Climate Change Strike. "We can see climate change occurring here due to the catastrophical typhoons and the sea levels rising and also the increasing number of hot days, and that is very scary." Hong Kong is among the more than 100 countries whose youths joined in to set March 15th as a global student strike day. Ms. Tarr gave credit to Greta Thunberg — a 16 year-old student from Sweden who spent many Fridays sitting in front of the government building to demand climate change actions from the government and large corporations — for being their inspiration. Initiated by Ms. Thunberg, the movement called #FridaysForFuture has been spread to Finland, Britain, United States and across the world. "One of the main things we want is renewable energy, because Hong Kong only has 1% of renewable energy. We want that to happen now, as soon as possible!" said Ms. Tarr. Shouting slogans like "be the solution, not the pollution" and "the seas are rising, so are we", the students marched to the Government Central Offices in Admiralty from Chater Garden. "Adults always think that children and teenagers don't care about politics and know nothing about it, but the fact that we children …

Photo Essay

The Green Women Festival: A celebration of women in environmental protection

The Green Women Festival 2019 is held in the Campfire Collaborative Spaces to celebrate social entrepreneurship, environmental awareness and gender equality. Speakers from various social organisations gave presentations, while workshops involving art and discussions are held for everyone to explore the concept of a green lifestyle.

Health & Environment

The Haunting Boars: Government measures on local wild boars control remain ineffective despite use of contraceptive vaccines

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Karen Kwok、William TsuiEdited by: Anna Kam、Maisy Mok
  • 2019-03-01

Zosha Piotrowski, a resident in Clearwater Bay area, said it was scary to see packs of wild boars by the rubbish bins when she was walking her dogs at night. "The wild boars knock down the bins and rummage for food, and there has been more and more of them in recent months," she added. According to the written reply from Secretary of the Environment, Wong Kam-sing, to Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, current legislative councillor from the geographical constituency, in early January, the number of the wild boars reached 738 in 2017, more than double what it was in 2013. Back in the 1970s, teams of civilian volunteers were granted arms licenses and special permits by the police and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) in order to hunt the boars, Mr. Wong said in a statement. Around 40 to 60 animals were caught each year. But in early 2017, the government suspended the hunting teams after reviewing their strategies for quantity control and relaunched the Pilot Capture and Contraception/Relocation Programme (Pilot CCRP), a two-year wild boar contraception project which successfully sterilised 54 wild boars by December 2018. Jeremy Young Chit-on, a district councillor for Central and Western District who wants the government to restart the hunting team, said contraception injections are ineffective because it is difficult to administer. The anaesthetic in the contraceptive vaccines, takes at least five to twenty minutes to take effect after injection. This gives the boars time to try to escape and become aggressive during the operation, a Legislative Council panel discussion summary released in late January stated.   Wild boars may become aggressive and attack humans when provoked or threatened, it quoted from the AFCD. On account of operational need and safety, the AFCD has to deploy 12 to 15 staff to capture …