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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

6 March 2005

Great effort on clean up Australia Day

This year's Clean Up Australia Day has highlighted the need for industry to focus on producing goods that can easily be recycled, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell said today.

Senator Campbell is joining volunteers in stripping dangerous plastic debris from South Cottesloe Foreshore for Clean Up Australia Day today.

"It's great to see the strong community support for Clean Up Australia Day has not diminished over the years," Senator Campbell said.

"Clean Up Australia Day is a positive response to a real problem. We must always strive to manage waste more efficiently.

"Recycling is the key to reducing the more than 6 million tonnes of rubbish that is dumped into the world's oceans each year.

"Australians are world leaders in recycling some products like newsprint, where about 74 per cent of our newspapers and magazines are recycled.

"The Australian Government is working to set new recycling targets in current negotiations with industry. We also need to help retailers to cut their dependency on plastic bags. I will be convening a second roundtable with retailers shortly to discuss this issue.

"I am keen to look at the design of packaging and encourage production of goods that can easily be recycled — for example putting the recycling symbol on the bottom of all recyclable products, which is already done by some manufacturers," he said.

Senator Campbell and local volunteers will remove rubbish from the coastline in order to help protect marine animals such as dolphins, stingrays, crustaceans and the rare leafy seadragon living along the nearby reef.

"This sort of litter is a major threat to marine life in the area — fragments of plastic as small as bottle tops can accumulate in the stomachs of dolphins, starving the animals slowly as the litter builds up," he said.

"Plastic films, like plastic bags, can smother coastal habitats, and nets scour substrates and entangle reef outcrops.

"Every one of us can make a difference — we just need to re-think where we put our waste.

"It is up to us all to ensure our consumption habits don't cost the earth."

Media Contact:
Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

Commonwealth of Australia