#Hashtag Hong Kong



    Listen to #Hashtag Hong Kong every Sunday morning at 8.15

    Focussing on issues affecting civil society, we'll hear from representatives of NGOs, associations, statutory bodies, and non-profit groups.

    (Sundays 8.15am - 8.25am)



    Professor Edwin Chan, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) researcher from CUHK

    My name is Edwin Ho Yin CHAN, and I am a professor and an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) researcher in the School of Life Sciences at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Since 1999, I have been dedicated to researching the pathobiology of rare neurological disorders that affect the nervous system. My ultimate goal is to translate my basic research into therapeutic treatments for these devastating diseases.
    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis affects the nerve cells responsible for voluntary muscle movements such as walking and talking. These nerve cells, known as motor neurons, can be divided into two groups. The upper motor neurons extend from the brain to the spinal cord, while the lower motor neurons extend from the spinal cord to the muscles. ALS gradually deteriorates and kills both groups of motor neurons, leading to a loss of muscle function.
    While the cause of ALS is unknown for the majority of cases, about 10% of individuals with ALS have a genetic cause that can be identified. How does ALS impact daily life? ALS has a significant impact on mobility, breathing, communication, and mental well-being. These symptoms progressively worsen over time. Muscle weakness is a common manifestation of ALS, particularly in the limbs. This weakness, primarily affecting the arms and legs, can hinder mobility and coordination. Initially, the distal muscles, such as those in the hands, feet, calves, and forearms, are typically affected. Upper limb weakness can make tasks like writing difficult, while lower limb weakness often impairs walking. Breathing difficulties are common in individuals with ALS due to weakness in the chest and diaphragm muscles, leading to chronic respiratory failure. This weakness in the respiratory system can result in breathing problems and frequent lung infections. Eventually, some individuals may require a ventilator to assist with breathing. Cognitive decline is another aspect of ALS, with approximately half of patients experiencing brain-related and behavioral changes at some point. Frontotemporal decline, a form of dementia, also affects some individuals with ALS.
    In summary, ALS significantly impacts daily life by affecting mobility, breathing, communication, and mental health. Managing these symptoms requires various strategies and interventions to maintain overall well-being and independence for as long as possible.
    To find out more about the disease biology of ALS, we have specifically studied a genetic mutation that is responsible for 35% of all ALS cases complicated with frontotemporal dementia, and have found a new direction for therapeutic development. Through our experiments on various research models with the University of Oxford, we discovered that a cellular factor becomes dysfunctional in the spinal motor neurons of ALS patients. This dysfunction affects the ability of these neurons to form connections (synapses) with each other, which is crucial for proper communication between nerve cells in the brain. This disruption of synapse formation contributes to the neuronal defects and muscle weakness observed in ALS.
    In addition to studying the basic pathobiology of ALS, we are also developing a group of biological drugs called "the BIND peptides" that aim to slow down the progression of the disease. The affinity of BIND peptides to their drug target has now been enhanced by 1,000 times and we are hoping to start clinical trials on this drug next.
    I would like to share a song called "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten. In an interview, Platten mentioned that she wrote this song with determination and a refusal to give up on herself. This song has inspired millions of people, including people suffering from ALS and some of them were featured in a recent ALS documentary film called “No Ordinary Campaign”. It is remarkable how something so personal and resonant can have a universal meaning. We all have the potential to be inspirational, but sometimes it just takes courage to express it. Whether it is through a song, research, or a random act of kindness, when combined, our efforts can fill the world with love and care.

    18/02/2024 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)

    18/02/2024 - Professor Edwin Chan, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) researcher from CUHK


    12 - 02
    2023 - 2024


    Professor Edwin Ho, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) researcher in the School of Life Sciences at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.


    Bobo Choy, the curator of Kong Temporary Archive



    Dr. William Yu, Chief Executive Officer of World Green Organisation


    Raymond Yang, co-founder and Executive Director of JUST FEEL


    Shirley Tsang, director of rehabilitation services from the Hong Kong Society for the Blind


    Dr Ning Fan , Chairperson and founder of Forget Thee Not


    Sincere Tung, Project Manager from Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service


    Agnes Cheng, CEO of Parks and Trails

    Leanne Tam, Campaigner, Greenpeace East Asia

    I am Leanne Tam from Greenpeace East Asia.


    Every day, Hong Kong people rush through work, afraid of losing to others only one tiny step behind. Takeaway coffee for breakfast and fast food takeaways to fight for more time to work? Without realizing it, this lifestyle eats us up. If you ever take a step back, you'll notice our environment is filled with rubbish. In 2021,The average daily quantity of solid waste disposed of at landfills was over 11,000 tonnes, a 18 percent increase compared to 10 years ago. The daily per capita was 1.53kg in 2021. It is definitely a number 1 compared to other East Asia well developed cities, like Taipei, Tokyo, and Seoul, where their per capita waste disposal rate is around or less than 1kg.

    Taipei, Tokyo and Seoul all had implemented a waste charging scheme in their city years ago. While for Hong Kong, the municipal solid waste charging had been “discussed” for 17 years, the policy will finally be in place on 1st April next year.


    The year 2024 is a critical year in making substantial progress in addressing the waste crisis in the city. Other than waste charging, the first phase on the regulation of disposable plastic tableware will also be executed in April 2024. There will be a full ban on foam food containers and cutlery, no more disposable plastic tableware allowed for dine-in restaurants and no more plastic-straw, cutlery for takeaway.


    While waste charging and regulation on plastic tableware would probably be two crucial policies driving forces on waste reduction. But back to the basics, paying money while continuously throwing away disposable items doesn't mean solving the waste problem. Waste that ends up in landfills, burned in the air, or leaks into the natural environment still generates harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses and environmental pollution. Most importantly, pollution does not happen when you throw, but it begins at the production stage of the single-use items. From oil extraction to plastic manufacturing and packaging, they have already consumed various environmental resources and caused pollution. Reducing waste at source is the root cause solution that truly tackles the waste problem.


    Take a look at policies in other countries and regions, using regulation and incentive promoting REUSE to completely phase out single-use items is paramount important. To avoid the issue of simply shifting from plastic to paper, bamboo, or other single-use materials without effectively addressing the waste problem.


    Greenpeace believes phasing out the unnecessary packaging is the key. For primary packaging, we can make good use of technology and product design to establish a circular packaging system. This can be achieved by implementing a reusable and returnable packaging to phase out the linear single-use packaging system. To demonstrate the possibility and feasibility of the reuse system, Greenpeace launched the Borrow and Return Cup Program in 2022, enabling customers to borrow reuse cups from over 35 cafes. Reuse cup is introduced to the Hong Kong community through a mobile app. Customers can order takeaway coffee in a reuse cup, and return the cup to any partnering cafe within the network. The program so far saved over 8,000 disposable cups, with a return rate of 99%. Not only receiving positive feedback from the F & B sector and customers, also demonstrating that environmental-friendly and convenience are not mutually exclusive.


    To further reveal the environmental potential of reuse systems through scientific research, Greenpeace conducted a Life-cycle assessment of single-use and reuse cup systems. The assessment aimed to calculate the environmental impact generated throughout the entire life cycle of these cups, from production, transportation, use to final disposal.


    The study found that the production stage of disposable cup systems accounts for the lion's share of emissions. Even using recycled plastic as raw material input for disposable plastic cups cannot change the significantly large amounts of natural resources consumed and the array of adverse emissions caused during the production process.


    This study proved that reuse cups are more resource-efficient and cause less pollution, compared to paper cups and recycled plastic cups. Greenpeace invites chain restaurants in Hong Kong to implement reuse systems, to shoulder corporate responsibility and proactively address the second phase of disposable plastic tableware regulations. The government should also relocate more resources on reuse rather than solely relying on recycling as the ultimate solution to the waste issue. Let’s join hands and unlock the environmental potential of reuse systems, working together to make our city greener for a sustainable future.


    Now I’d like to dedicate this song Fix you by Coldplay to all of you.


    03/12/2023 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)

    03/12/2023 - Leanne Tam, Campaigner, Greenpeace East Asia