Hong Kong: King of Wastage

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How much waste are you producing everyday? Yes, we all know there’s environmental problems to care about. But how much action have we put into it to solve the problem?

I live in Hong Kong, one of the most wasteful cities in the world. In 2010, we were coined the most wasteful city in the world.

This graph below shows the total amount of waste disposed in landfills daily by year. From the graph, despite the environmental policies the government had implemented throughout this decade, the rate at which solid waste was disposed at Hong Kong landfills had not decreased (and only increased).

Basically, just more and more waste is generated in Hong Kong.

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Source: Monitoring of Solid Waste in HK: Waste Statistics for 2014

Imagine all that waste we are creating each day. In Hong Kong, in 2014 alone, almost 15000 tonnes of waste were disposed each day. Imagine that number multiplied 365 days in a year.

Almost 10000 tonnes were created by Domestic, Commercial and Industrial Waste. This means the trash from our households, offices and factories. This is waste we can save!

As a normal Hong Kong citizen, I didn’t know until this moment that the Environmental Bureau of the Hong Kong Government had built up a plan “Plan E” (I guess E for Environmental) to change our city to become environmentally friendly. This table is a summary of the goals:

http://www.enb.gov.hk/en/files/WastePlan-E.pdf

Source: Hong Kong Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022

Plan E

The Vision of this Plan E (I think E for Environmental) is “To instill environmental-sustainable culture in Hong Kong people’s daily life“. The target, “to reduce Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) by 40%  on a per capita basis by 2022, will specifically aim to reduce the current per capita MSW disposal of 1.27 kg per day to 0.8 kg per day by 2022“.

As ideal as this scheme sounds to everyone, had it not occurred that the disposal of MSW in Hong Kong had just been kept at around the same level in the past decade?

I had been particularly concerned with policy direction #2

“Make all out efforts to mobilize the community to participate”

The reason why I’m so surprised, is that I sent the image above (in green) to about 10 of my closest friends and family (all Hong Kong local residents), and literally none of them realized that the government had such great environmental goals for Hong Kong.

How could these goals be succeeded if the community of Hong Kong don’t even know about the plans of the government?

At least, the government needs to educate the citizens and make them voluntary participate.

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When comparing Hong Kong to other Asian countries, the daily domestic waste generation rate per capita is 1.36kg, significant more than Taipei, Seoul and Tokyo.

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This bar chart above shows the proportion of waste in which it is waste is managed.

Hong Kong, already with the highest generation of waste (from Figure 2), has the most inefficient waste management structure.

HK’s waste is 52% in landfill and 48% in recycling. 

Whilst other larger developed Asian cities have moved to incineration or other waste-to-energy processing technology and almost no landfill, Hong Kong’s main waste processing method remains as LANDFILL, 52%. Japan literally has no landfills, Singapore and Taiwan are at a mere 1and 2%, with South Korea at 19% but working on it to reduce their waste with great waste managing technology.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong says that its recycling 48% of its waste. I am wondering how trustworthy is the source of the information that had came from the official government documents. A few days ago, an article by South China Morning Post mentioned that only 17% of water bottles are successfully recovered for recycling, whilst the world international average was 37%.

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Pie chart showing the compositions of different MSW in Hong Kong.

In a typical rubbish bin, there may be a lot of food and leftovers of bones (40%), as well as other things. Putrescibles are actually organic, and when other in the countryside, it can be just thrown away as it is bio-degradable.

This is what we can do first – we can sort by sorting out our rubbish! In each household, we should put a small big that contains things we can bring to the recycle bin.

If you would like to know more about the nearest recycle bin by GPS:

iTunes Appstore: https://goo.gl/p5XUsP

Google Play: https://goo.gl/VpUY3m

Watch more about FOOD WASTE. A whooping 1/3 of the waste in Hong Kong comes from leftover food. When you order too much and leave food…think about where the waste goes in Hong Kong. Landfills only. Let’s not compromise our future generations…

Please watch this TED Talk: Tristram Stuart: The global food waste scandal

Sources: 

Hong Kong Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022 (2014). Retrieved May 31, 2016 from The Government of Hong Kong, Environment Bureau Web site: http://www.enb.gov.hk/en/files/WastePlan-E.pdf

Monitoring of Solid Waste in Hong Kong – Waste Statistics for 2014 (2015). Retrieved May 31, 2016 from Government of Hong Kong, Environmental Protection Department Web site: https://www.wastereduction.gov.hk/sites/default/files/msw2014.pdf

 

 

 

Obey vs Honour your parents.

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There is a difference between Obey and Honour. We should know what’s the difference and live our lives to it. This would have been a good lesson for the teenager version of myself.

Like Father, Like Son. My Parents’ Vision was My Vision.

For all my life, I had lived up to my father and mother’s advice about how I should live my life. I lived up to their image of me, and kept the ideal image they wanted of a good daughter. My relatives and their family friends had always praised me for being beautiful, smart, diligent and having perfect manners. As embarrassing as it is to recall all of these comments of utter pure flattery for me, I was always obliged to just follow and just obey the typical image of what they set for me.

Following their ideas – if my parents are happy, I am happy.

Following and obeying was always the easy way out. I’m not sure if it’s because of my family environment, or how my parents nurtured and shaped me, I strongly loathe all types of arguments or debates. So I just follow all their ideas, and give up on my own. Throughout all my childhood, I would just give up on my own ideas and try to live up to theirs. I thought, if they are happy, I would be happy.
I was trained to be a family-orientated daughter.

Diligence: Changing own dreams to suit parents’ dreams?

During my secondary school days, I wanted to do Environmental Science in university. I was very aware of what we as humans are selfishly doing to the environment, and I wanted to study it so I could help the world, even if it’s just changing a small step by step.

But my parents wanted wanted me to choose a practical, safe, stable and well-paid job (a profession). So on the day of the University Open Day, my mother and I passed by the Geology major, and my own thoughts about what I wanted to do changed “Aha! This is great. Earth Science = Geography with more Science aspect. It’s a win-win for me, I like outdoor excursions and it’s a profession (to fulfill parents’ wishes)!

I probably never thought what this decision that moment would do for future myself. I didn’t do what I majored in because I loved it, it was because it fulfilled my parents’ wishes.

Sudden thought: Is this career my Future?

I got into the Geology profession right after university. It was the path of the norm: graduating from the major and getting into a career related to the major. It’s the typical path of everyone who came out from tertiary education.

Turns out, I didn’t love the career I majored in. One day, I suddenly had an ‘indicator‘:

Look at your boss.
Imagine yourself as him, ten years later.
This is exactly YOU, ten years later.

I looked at my boss, doing just more of the tedious work I was doing; I couldn’t imagine myself as him. I wanted to do something better with my life.

Your life is Yours, not Theirs. Parents only wish you would be happy.

This was like my quarter-life crisis. It was this moment when I finally realized that I had been obeying orders for the first twenty years of my life, and never did what I really wanted to do.

In the end, parents only wish the best for us. They want to protect us. Their advice was just a guidance. The topics of arguments was to see how strongly you felt for what was right. Their orders are they for you to ‘Honour’, not necessarily to ‘Obey’.

“You shall honour your father and your mother” – The Fifth Commandment

I had this epiphany from watching TED Talk by Lisa Bu. The Fifth Commandments tells us to Honour, and not Obey. They’re a difference. Honour in the Fifth Commandment teaches us how to love our parents – it’s a lifelong promise of proper respect.

I was lost for what I would do for a career. I was so guided for the first twenty years of my life, following and obeying orders and this moment that I finally grew up, I finally learned that it was just advice, not orders. The advice and views on what to do with life.

Obey ≠ Honour

  • Obeying parents is not the same as Honouring them.
  • If we obey your parents’ wishes against our own wishes…
    • In the long run, it will drive DISHONOUR back to them.
    • Going against your own wishes won’t lead you to true Happiness.
    • Either you revert to your true dreams to what you do too late in life – which worries them more;
    • Or you’re stuck within their comfort zone for the rest of your life.
    • However, Parents love you despite all the things you do.
      LOVE. All they wanted was for you to be Happy.

Why we have to Honour our parents.

Our parents are the core of our lives. They gave us the BEST life can offer – LIFE itself. If it wasn’t for them, we’ll never be feeling all of this. They suffered to take us out into this world – no matter how well we were brought up to be – we cannot blame them for the personality we have now – We are Our Own Self. It takes a WhatsApp message to dump your boyfriend/girlfriend, a phone call to file for a divorce, but no matter what we can never dump our parents.

If you want to truly honor your loved ones, go out in the world and live your absolute best and brightest, make the most of that gift your parents gave you.

All-in-all, they just wanted,

  1. They wanted to protect us.
    Following dreams may fail – they’ve seen many examples of that.
    They just want us to flourish, never falling, never failing, never hurting.
  2. They fear their realities changing.
    They fear our change, that their sons/daughters are no longer the predictable children that we used to be.
  3. They’re dependent on us.
    Especially when bring us up well was because they could count on us in the future.
    Maybe some of us are an only child and the family is completely dependent on us, we can’t go and run away to chase the dream and become irresponsible.
    DISHONOUR is scary. We have to strike a balance between honouring them, and honouring ourselves.

We can’t let parents be an excuse to not go for what we love. We have to make the best out of the gift they gave us. It’s the only way to to Happiness  love one another.

Read this article about Parents by Niall Doherty, and its comments on the post. Everyone goes through the same things in life, it’s good for everyone to know we are all not in this alone. 

What’s Up with WhatsApp and Relationships

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Bad pun. But monitoring WhatsApp is a pretty good way to test out the status of a virtual relationship.

  1. Tick or Ticks

Ticks on Messages Meaning What it may mean and what you should do
Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 1.11.08 AM Message is sent but
not yet received.

Either your recipient switched off data/wifi or the phone was off.

They haven’t read your message.

No, don’t blame them (Can’t blame them even if they purposely switch off data, ok?)

 Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 1.10.54 AM Message had been definitely received AND read.

Blue ticks mean the message had definitely been read.

Your conversation had definitely been opened.

You can even press into the information (i) button to see what time they’ve read your message.

Yes, you can blame them now.

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 1.10.37 AM Message had been received by the phone BUT unsure if it had been read
(Since we now have the option to switch off blue ticks)
Two ticks mean the message may already been seen through the phone’s notifications.

Maybe, you can blame them…but it’s better to keep it to yourself to avoid an argument.

Switching off blue ticks is for people who are very busy, and only have time to read messages but not necessarily reply them yet.

Some people who are bothered by the presence of blue ticks will tend to say “if you had time to open our conversation box, why don’t you reply? I’d rather you not open them!” This usually turns into a big argument.

2. Voice messages

Yes, this goes for the same for voice messages. However, even if you don’t have the blue ticks function switched off, it’s still applicable for voice messages.

 have not listened…
have already been listened.

3. Privacy settings

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There are three options you can set for these settings above:

  1. Everyone
  2. My Contacts
  3.  Only Me

These days, most people tend to switch off the Last Seen timestamps.

  • Avoid the problem of having to explain to your lover or mother why you’ve had time to open the WhatsApp app but not reply.
  • However, having no last seen shown has a sacrifice – you can’t see the last seen timestamp of others too.
    • So here I set it this way: (this is my top secret)
      Who CAN see my Last Seen? People in my contacts/phonebook
      Who CAN’T see my Last Seen? Stalkers that I haven’t saved their numbers
    • (In this method, I get to see the Last Seen Timestamps of others yet not let the stalkers know about when I’m last online)

Most people tend to tick “My Contacts” (the default) to be able to see your Profile Photo and Status; usually very little people select “Everyone”.

Therefore this usually means

  • If you’re talking to someone without a profile pic, you’re not in their phonebook.
  • When you stalk your ex that his/her profile picture just suddenly disappears (assuming he/she did have a profile pic before) and becomes………..
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  • He/she probably just deleted your contact (to forget about you).
  • DISCLAIMER: Speculation only, may be he really just deleted his profile picture. Or you can ask someone else. But to save the problem, just accept it and move on.

Secrets and Tricks of WhatsApp. I’m sure most people know the tricks around, but just in case someone doesn’t, I’ve taught that one person something. Happy WhatsApping!

 

Must a luxurious life mean Wastage?

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What does it really mean to be ‘luxurious’? Is it creating a lot of excess, making a lot of wastage? LUXURY from the dictionary means “a state of great comfort or elegance, especially when involving great expense.” It is typically an inessential item that is expensive. WASTE is the unusable or unwanted material that is discarded after its primary use – during production, transformation or consumption – has been completed (adapted from the definition from the United Nations.

Since when I was young, I was taught to finish all the food on my plate (unless the excess leftovers could be taken home). It’s just basic ethics – my parents had very traditionally taught me that I ought to be grateful that I am being fed, whilst there are many children and people in poorer developing countries that may have no food to even survive.

In the past week, I’ve been living in the shoes like a luxurious food lover. I’ve brought around my friend who came to visit Hong Kong, the city most famous for good and a large variety of food. Now it’s like living the life of a glutton (by definition: a person who over-indulges and over-consumes food to the point of extravagance or waste). We ordered many things – most of the time too much in terms of portion – but ended up order more than we could eat, as we ordered additionally food so to ‘try a large variety of foods’ (another way to say it would be greedy). However, when the food arrives and some photo-taking, I’ve observed some people tend to take a bite or two, then says “had enough of it” “can’t eat anymore of the same thing” “need to save the stomach for the next meal” “what food are we going next?”

Honestly this gluttonous and insatiable attitude in the past week haunts me; since I terribly dislike the idea of wastage.

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Tai Ping Koon Restaurant – Lunch

This photo above was from lunch past week at Tai Ping Koon Restaurant, a famous traditional Chinese-Western fusion restaurant in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. The food looked great and tasted delicious, but it was too much for six people to finish. By the end, we left two portions of pasta and rice untouched, so the waiter came by and said “Finished? Sure?” I felt very embarrassed of us wasting so much food We really tried our best to eat as much as we could, but actually now that I think about it, eating in excess after we’ve reached the necessary level of food, is it counted as waste too? Waste that is stored in our bodies instead. I almost couldn’t tell the difference.

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Today I passed by Hong Kong’s recent ‘trendy’ supermarket, 759Store. It’s a low-end supermarket which sells almost all kinds of packaged foods you can think of. They sell a large diversity of direct-import popular Korean and Japanese snacks, instant noodles, kitchen utensils, hygienic products (even expanding into proper canteen-like restaurants). From its first store in 2010, it had expanded to 247 stores all around Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories in March 2015 (see its official website).

All the products sold here are relatively cheap to anywhere else. This is their main business strategy

  • Fast horizontal expansion
  • Economies of scale (buying in bulk results in lower long-run costs per unit)
  • Lowered costs of food supply
  • More packaged foods are demand at the lower price (higher consumption!)

For example, 759Store is famous for its variety of instant noodles. Read my other post about Instant Noodles vs Palm Oil.

As cheap as these supermarkets or for all food may be, the “consumers are not paying for the true cost of food”. Jason Clay, TEDGlobal 2010. For all the food that we consumers buy, and think about all the raw materials the producers i.e. the farmers input water for irrigation, actually “the farmer didn’t receive enough money to pay a decent price for water in any of those commodities” – this term being “externality – a subsidy from nature“. (Listen to TEDTalk by Jason Clay)

Think of all the externalities, benefits or costs done to the third party, before consuming a product. For every action we take, we ought to know how to think about the consequences behind it. This works for everything in life. We can’t take the Earth for granted.

For example, self-control comes in hand when we stop ourselves eating the next cookie knowing it’s more than you need, and you think of the consequences eating the next cookie – you will get fat.

We can put this ideal for the environment too. As luxurious as you can eat now, waste food now, be selfish, but our finite resources will run out one day at this rate. So we ought to think of the consequences we do for our future selves or kids.

Too much waste is produced. We should use less We, as consumers, in this process we just buy the products. So what can we do?

  • Think before purchasing. Do I really need this? Be practical and rational.
  • Once you’ve bought it, you’re responsible for the product you’ve bought (includes its residues and remains).
  • For example, for food:
    • Don’t waste food. Order just ‘enough’ food. You can order less first to get an idea of portions.
    • Bring an environmentally friendly container to bring away leftovers.
    • Mark down expiration dates on the fridge or a memo.

Population is growing rapidly, and this prediction comes from many CENSUS reports, the current world population in 2016 (May) is 7.4 billion people (source). The projection for world population in 2050 is 9.6 billion people (source from the UN).

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Whatever was sustainable on a planet of six billion is not going to be sustainable on a planet with nine.” – Jason Clay, TEDGlobal2010.

  • In 2016, the number of Earths that we need at this moment to sustain us is 1.6 Earths (we are using 60% more than the Earth’s natural capacity).
  • What will happen when it’s 2050?!

 

Let’s Welcome Sustainable Palm Oil and say goodbye to Starbucks and Burger King

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We’ve already heard of the dangers of growing Palm Oil Plantations. Developing countries like Indonesia and Malaysia had been severely cutting down and burning trees in order to make way to grow the high-demand palm oil (See my previous article for more insights). At this rate, they are presently only using up the finite resources of the Earth and destroying the futures of their people. This goes completely against the ‘sustainability‘ principle – “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs“.

As much as growing Palm Oil as a ‘biofuel’ is a type of renewable energy source (definitionenergy that is collected from resources that are naturally replenished), almost 80% of the world’s palm oil plantations are currently not up to the certified sustainable standard (RSPO: Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil).

Sustainable, GOOD palm oil (that is certified and up-to-standard by the RSPO) means that the “plantation was established on land that did not contain significant biodiversity, wildlife habitat or other environmental values, and meets the highest environmental, social and economic standards as set out by the RSPO” (taken from WWF), as well as using safe and sustainable irrigation and organic methods, with no hazardous chemicals. All-in-all, this increases traceability and decreases the input of chemical hazardous wastes into the ecosystem, therein minimising carbon footprint.

 

NOTE: This is NOT to say as consumers we should not use Palm Oil at all. As a vegetable oil in comparison to other alternative vegetable oil such as rapeseed, sunflower and soya, it already ranks as the highest-yielding oilseed crop (see Statistics from Oil World 2013). As responsible consumers, all we have to do is support GOOD PALM OIL, then the producers will shift their outlook on the necessity of using sustainable measures.

“We must realise that producers will only produce sustainably if consumers like us send a clear signal that we want a sustainable product.”

Darrel Webber, secretary general, RSPO

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(from The Guardian)

As the pie charts above show, which companies buy the most palm oil, and what proportion they buy is certified RSPO-sustainable.

 

“Good Palm Oil” Case Study: Unilever

unilever-brands

As you can see, Unilever, global multinational consumer goods company that owns large brands such as Dove and Lux (bathroom products), Ben&Jerry’s and Magnum (ice-cream),  Lipton (tea) and Rexona (deodorant), uses 100% certified sustainable palm oil. With a newly announced Sustainable Living Plan in May 2016, it leads the world as a role model for sustainability strategies (Read this article).

  1. Zero-waste-to-landfill from their factories;
  2. Eliminated the use of coal as an energy source;
  3. Only using sustainable palm oil;
  4. Setting the trend to invest in green energy; and
  5. increasing transparency of company, to report on its green, sustainable progress.

Unilever‘s Vision: To grow our business, whilst decoupling our environmental footprint from our growth and increasing our positive social impact.

 

“Bad Palm Oil” Case Study: Burger King and Starbucks

Burger King had always had a bad reputation with using palm oil from questionable (most likely unsustainable sources) of plantations. Recently in a 2015 Union of Concerned Sciences (UCS) Palm Oil Scorecard, Burger King and Starbucks had obtained a low score of 10/100, displaying little commitment to using deforestation-free palm oil.

Lastly, what can we do as consumers?

  • Support and Demand products that use RSPO-certified sustainable Palm Oil
    • Producers will reflect to the demands of the consumers;
    • We cannot avoid palm oil, it is in 50% of our household products.
  • Urge Governments to reinforce laws enforcing sustainable production methods

There is lack of awareness in the society; as responsible citizens we should share these environmental issues with friends or on social media so everyone makes conscious and earth-friendly decisions.

#goodbadpalmoil

Read more on http://www.rspo.org/consumers/goodbadpalmoil.

All it takes is 3 minutes to cook Instant Noodles. But how does it affect the Health of the Earth?

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Why do we like to cook and eat instant noodles? It is tastily unhealthy and we love it. It’s inexpensive and the handiest of all types of staple food; we can put it in our cupboard for a long period of time without it going bad! All-in-all, it only takes 3 minutes to cook it. You may have heard how eating instant noodles is bad for you, but you may not know how terrible it actually is to your body, and even more disastrous as the health of our Earth.

The ingredients of instant noodles are:

  1. Wheat flour
  2. Palm Oil
  3. Salt
  4. MSG
  5. Preservatives (that’s why they have such a long shelf-life – called TBHQ
    – a by-product of petroleum which is carcinogenic if consumed in large amounts)
  6. Other substances that cause the risk of metabolic syndrome of adults, in particular women, to increase.

Palm Oil is a type of vegetable oil. The instant noodles are fried in palm oil, so much that average pack of instant noodles are 20% palm oil by weight; all are saturated fat.

A brief overview about palm oil production:

A hectare of palm oil plantation yields on average 4 tonnes of crude palm oil per year. In 2013 alone, 59.6 million tonnes of palm oil was consumed; meaning more than 13 million of hectares of palm oil plantation were needed to fulfill the high consumption.

Imagine the speed of deforestation: Every 10 minutes, 5 football pitches of rainforest area are being deforested.

Developing countries in particular Indonesia and Malaysia (who make 85% of palm oil production) are clear-cutting or burning their own natural rainforests in order to plant more palm oil plantations to meet the high demand of this biofuel. Meanwhile, biodiversity decreases rapidly and animals e.g. orangutans are becoming endangered.

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The pure production of palm oil plantation had been causing farmers to exploit our rainforests and heavy deforestation.

Sepilok orang-utan sanctuary

Orangutans are soon-to-be endangered due to their loss of habitat in the tropical rainforest.

Not only the carbon sinks are being destroyed, the plant-burning action of deforestation causes a lot of carbon dioxide, in addition to the CO2 emissions during the transformation of the crude palm oil into processed palm oil, further using these oil to cook and fry instant noodles. Check out in this interactive.

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Previously, I had never thought just a simple thing use as eating instant noodles or cup ramen took so much processing as well as produce heavy duty wastage. On average taken from the past 10 years, 100 billion servings of instant noodles are being consumed annually worldwide (check out the instant noodles consumption of your country from instantnoodles.org). This means that 100 billion instant noodles packaging are sent into the dumps annually. Most cup noodles packaging are foam cups which are non-biodegradable (will stay on Earth forever), made with non-renewable resources (fossil fuels) and also produces a large amount of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and HFCs are accelerate global warming!

Even though some companies’ corporate social responsibility departments are investigating into recyclable packaging, not all countries are prone to having a good recycling culture. Hong Kong and China are particularly lax about recycling – whilst other countries such as South Korea and Taiwan, use environmental-friendly recycling strategies that force households to sort out trash before disposal.

In conclusion, think about the consequences of the cup noodle in your house before using 3 minutes to eat it.

  1. The palm oil had went on to heavily disadvantaged to humans and the environment at a great cost.
  2. Think about the efforts to fell the rainforest and process in a factory in order to produce sufficient levels of the raw material – palm oil.
  3. Remind yourself after eating the instant noodles, there will definitely be a lot of unhealthy chemicals inside
  4. The action of throwing away the package of instant noodles, whether it is from cup styrofoam ramen or the plastic bag, and where those chemicals end in the environment later on.
  5. What is your environmental footprint?

Whilst I appreciate many companies putting a lot of effort into R&D for environmental solutions, for example to find more sustainable ways to produce their food products, using sustainably-grown palm oil or producing recyclable packaging, before all these measures, the average consumer must learn to be AWARE of the problems with the palm oil, learn to CARE about these issues, keep up to date, and also SHARE the sustainability knowledge we know to others.

Spread the message! Let’s not be unfair to our next generation. It’s high time we start taking notice of what we are doing to our planet.

 

References:

Sime Darby Plantation (2014). Palm Oil Facts & Figures . Retrieved from http://www.simedarby.com/upload/Palm_Oil_Facts_and_Figures.pdf

Frazier, K. (2015). How Styrofoam is Bad for the Environment. How Styrofoam is Bad for the Environment. Retrieved from http://greenliving.lovetoknow.com/How_Styrofoam_is_Bad_for_the_Environment

Pang, H. Y., Lee, Y. W. & Lee, Y. H. (2016). The Impact of Instant Noodles on the Environment. Retrieved from http://www.step.com.sg/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Queensway-Secondary-School-The-Impact-of-Instant-Noodles-on-the-Environment.pdf

Peace and Politics…does it exist?

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Taking a rare stance for a change. I have no stand in Politics, but between Peace and Politics, really, won’t everyone choose Peace? That’s what I hoped for. World Peace. Peace around the world. In that the world a better place to live in.

I’m usually not a person with any political stand. I stay neutral on all political terms. I don’t think there’s any point debating whoever is right or whoever is wrong, if both sides have supporters, maybe both sides have their advantages and disadvantages. So I won’t take a stand until I understand both sides enough. It may be heartless and immature to say so, but I am unbeknownst of political views.

I just stand on the side of Peace. I don’t care what is happening with politics, as long as there’s peace. I don’t understand how the world can be so imbalanced, don’t comprehend why wars between countries can exist. How come mere difference of beliefs or cultures can drive countries ahead with so much anger.

Today I’ve been looking at the news and feeling a bit disappointed in international politics. As you all know, today, EgyptAir flight MS804, that was supposed to go from Paris to Cairo, was missing from the radar since GMT 2:30am on Thursday (19 May 2016); it disappeared off the air traffic control centres. It had just entered the Egyptian international waters. Apparently, it mysteriously made a sharp 90 degree turn before dropping down into the Mediterranean Sea. Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 6.53.00 PM.pngAs of this moment, no one knows what really happened to the plane, however the wreckage was found with no survivors – all 66 passengers on board presumed to have died in this incident. Read this for more information.

This just suddenly reminds everyone of the mysterious plane crashes that seem to happen every so often in this year, such as the incident with the Malaysian Airlines. To remind, just on Halloween of last year, 31 October 2015, a preceding airplane crash incident had occurred within Egyptian territory. Russian chartered passenger flight Metrojet Flight 9268 with 224 passengers on board, was planned to fly from Egypt to Russia. It had been planted with a bomb that exploded the plane about 23 minutes after its departure from one of the airports in Egypt.

Again, these two aircrafts were from the Airbus A320 family. For the incident that occurred in October last year, the Egyptian president had recently admitted that the aircraft crash incident was caused by terrorism (see this). So is this terrorism again? Terrorism, the use of violence and threats to intimate or coerce for political purposes. Is this what politics is for? This is my opinion, but I don’t understand how Terrorism uses Politics to go against Peace. Why can’t the world be at Peace together? Is death to innocent people the solution to whatever their problem is? Is War able to force Peace out? Isn’t the world better if everyone can just be happy with their own lives, and let others live their own? Who ever gets to decide who lives and who dies?

I just read this article from The Times of Israel:
Kerry in Cairo for talks on Egypt’s politics, Mideast peace“.

  • On Tuesday 18 May:
    • Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi initiated revival of peace talks with Israel.
    • Sissi offered support for a French initiative and suggested to be a mediator
    • Idea was to hold a Mideast peace conference (however this idea was rejected by Israel previously).
    • Sissi mentioned that the relations between Israel and Egypt could only be ‘warmer’ since the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty signed between Egyptian then-president Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menacham Begin (under supervision of US President Jimmy Carter). These efforts for this treaty had led Sawat to be awarded with the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize. However a few years later Sadat had been assassinated by the Islamic extremists the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group (see wiki).
    • Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu liked the suggestion of a Palestinian-Israel deal that gave ‘safety and stability’ for both sides; supported the idea to advance and invest in efforts to advance peace and security and represented Israel to be ‘ready’ to join Egypt and other Arab states in “advancing the peace process and stability in the region“.

Though I don’t know much, from what I know, it appears this aircraft incident is extremely complicated and controversial.

Back in 1979, the Egypt-Israel peace treaty that had been signed between Sadat and Begin was quite controversial enough – Arab states regarded Egypt as ‘back-stabbing’, to be the first Arab state to accept Israel.

Now in 2016, having Sissi and Netanyahu seemingly insistent of the possibility of hosting a Mideast peace conference, it is possibly that some parties that are against this political ‘peace’ move had taken action to show their dislike in this political move…

Politics is too complicated. I wish World Peace was as easily achievable and simple as it is often said.