From ABC, 2 Mar. 08
AUSTRALIANS CLEAN UP 7,000 TONNES OF RUBBISH
The organisers of Clean Up Australia Day say it is a good sign that the total amount of rubbish collected this year is down compared to last year.
More than 7,000 tonnes of rubbish has been collected nationally today, with drink bottles and cans making up one third of the total.
The chairman of Clean Up Australia, Ian Kiernan, says while the amount of drink containers is worrying, the overall level of rubbish is declining.
"The amount of rubbish collected on this, the 19th Clean Up Australia Day, was down on last year by about 3 per cent," he said.
"That's good, because it means that the benefits of previous clean-ups are still being felt, and that the community is looking to look after the environment, on a continuing basis."
Mr Kiernan says a national recycling deposit scheme, like the one operating in South Australia, could address the problem.
"Beverage containers are a major, major problem, in all their forms - aluminium, glass, plastic, and steel," he said.
"If you look at the South Australian example, you're not looking at a bit of rubbish by the beach or the side of the road, you're looking at a bit of gleaming cash, and it's gone in an instant."
Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett says he is willing to discuss the idea of a national deposit scheme with the States.
"I think there is some merit in looking closely at them," he said.
"It's very clear that some states believe it is a positive way of approaching the problems of litter.
"But at the same time, I want to make sure we speak with all states, to evaluate those sorts of issues in a very careful and considered way."