No more 30 degree plus days please

Monday, August 10, 2009
Issue 788, Page 2
Word count: 540
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Everybody can feel the 30 degree plus temperature during the past few weeks in Macau. With the impact of some tropical storms and typhoons, these days the temperature for sometime even went beyond 34 degree Celsius. Stale air, stuffy weather and hazy sky make this time of the year probably the hardest even for healthy people to endure.

Again the evidence of global warming appears in front of human beings’ eyes, it’s so true that it makes us to feel its existence. It seems that climate change is so close and yet so far. People can simply switch on the air-conditioning and thus stay away from the heat. Because of this “solution” to date the concept of environmental conservation is still not largely prevalent among civilians in a lot of places worldwide. Even though this topic has been widely talked about and discussed, and lists of commitments were made, to what extent a government can truly prioritise environmental issues as if it was dealing with economic growth remains uncertain in my mind.

We cannot adopt the so-called “ostrich policy” to tackle global warming. We know that by hiding in an air-conditioned place doesn’t help at all, not to mention the Earth is facing energy shortages, or even an energy crisis.

It has been more than one month since the Environmental Protection Bureau was founded to replace the Environmental Protection Committee in Macau. To me, I’ve been and am still looking forward to seeing its first project.

The bureau’s director, Cheong Sio Kei, said on June 29 in the inauguration that their primary task was to implement publicity campaigns and education on environmental conservation, in a bid to “further strengthen people’s environmental and law-abiding awareness”.

The direction is quite right. Humans should not forget that every one of them has the responsibility to protect the environment, the planet where they live on.

If people say Las Vegas is a Sin City, shall Macau be deemed the same?

But here I’m not referring to adult entertainment, prostitution, triad activities or drug trafficking, I perceive such “sin” as the excessive and unnecessary amount of energy all those 32 licensed casinos are consuming all year round.

From the neon lighting to the “always very cool” indoor temperature, the annual electricity usage must be massive and an upsetting fact to environmental activists in particular.

Yet, I’ve to confess that I don’t live a very green life. From time to time I will ask myself how many Styrofoam (or polystyrene) takeaway containers I had wasted in the past two years working at night in the office five times a week. I know that I can prepare my own dinner as a way to reduce such kind of waste, but at the same time I was wondering whether the Macau government could introduce the use of recyclable (and sometime also microwavable) plastic containers and ban those that are made from non-biodegradable polystyrene foam, just like many other advanced countries such as Australia.

If a nation as big as Australia is able to make its citizens and restaurants turn to more environmental friendly takeaway containers even at a slightly higher cost, I believe Macau can follow suit and be part of the contributing force to a healthier planet.

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