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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

News Update

Air Date: Week of

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New developments in stories we’ve been following recently.


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CURWOOD: You're listening to Living on Earth.

(Music up and under: Alison Dean, "Update Theme & Stings")

CURWOOD: Time to update some of the news items we've been following lately.

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CURWOOD: The bottled water industry is booming as consumers continue to spurn tap water in favor of the taste, convenience, and presumed safety of bottled water. But what's in that bottle is probably not all that different from what comes from the faucet, and it can cost up to 1,000 times more. That's the word from a new study commissioned by the Worldwide Fund for Nature, and Lisa Hadeed of WWF says bottled water is not a sustainable alternative to safe tap water.

HADEED: There is an important need to keep our rivers clean and to keep our wetlands in good shape, because they are ultimately the source of all of our water however it comes to us, in the tap, in a bottle, whatever, so that everyone can have access to safe water at a fair price.

CURWOOD: And consider this: WWF says bottling that water uses one-and-a-half million tons of plastic every year.

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CURWOOD: Eighteen Goshute Indians in Utah are suing the federal government for approving a nuclear storage facility on tribal lands. The plaintiffs say dozens of complaints and requests for information have been ignored by federal officials. The Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians is deeply divided. Some say they welcome the waste and the money it will bring to their reservation. Others say the money is not worth running the risks of nuclear waste.

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CURWOOD: Butt out. That's the word from the Maine House of Representatives. It recently voted down a bill that would have made cigarette butts returnable for a five cent deposit. Representative Joseph Brooks, sponsor of the measure, says a commission is being created to recommend a solution to the problem of cigarette butt litter.

BROOKS: It may not be a returnable butt bill. It may be another mechanism used to try to figure out the solution to cigarette butt litter. I will say this, however. If they don't come back with a solution, I have already promised to bring that bill back. And we will be facing another year of debate on a returnable butt bill.

CURWOOD: Mr. Brooks also hopes cigarette companies will come up with biodegradable filters, which would help the cause.

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CURWOOD: The Earth's oceans received another layer of protection last month. The International Maritime Organization approved an accelerated phaseout of single-hull tankers. The 158 member countries of this UN body agreed to replace single hulls with safer double hulls by 2015.

Esso is now the target of a boycott of their petrol stations in the United Kingdom. British celebrities and green groups have joined together to protest the global warming policies of Esso, which is the UK brand of Exxon-Mobil. Stars, including Bianca Jagger, Annie Lennox, and Ralph Fiennes, are angry at what they call Exxon's influence on President Bush and his decision to abandon the Kyoto Protocol. And that's this week's news update from Living on Earth.



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