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. Australian state to ban plastic bags

by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) April 17, 2008
South Australia state said Thursday it would ban plastic bags from next year after a meeting of environment ministers failed to agree on a national programme to address the issue.

The state announced it would go it alone after federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett ruled out imposing a levy on plastic bags and set up a working group on the matter instead.

"After six years ... we're still unable to come to a nationally consistent approach," state environment minister Gail Gogo said.

"But South Australia can hold its head high. We will bring about a ban."

The federal government in Canberra announced in January that it hoped to phase out plastic bags from shopping centres by the end of the year.

It has not said how it will do that, and Garrett on Thursday reiterated the government's opposition to a levy.

"But we do want to see increased action to reduce plastic bag use in the community," Garrett told reporters.

"We've identified the need for an urgent working group to be established between government and industry to look at making sure retailers are exploring all the options."

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Townsville, Australia (SPX) Apr 17, 2008
Half a century after the last earth-shattering atomic blast shook the Pacific atoll of Bikini, the corals are flourishing again. Some coral species, however, appear to be locally extinct. These are the findings of a remarkable investigation by an international team of scientists from Australia, Germany, Italy, Hawaii and the Marshall Islands. The expedition examined the diversity and abundance of marine life in the atoll.

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