NEW MOVES TO TIGHTEN CONTROL OF SHIP POLLUTION IN THE PACIFIC

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APIA, Samoa (October 7, 1998 - Radio Australia)---The Pacific region's main environmental organization is moving to tighten controls on pollution caused by ships.

The South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) represents 22 Pacific nations and is drafting the Pacific Island Pollution Prevention Program.

The program will see member countries tighten legislation and prepare regional and national plans for major emergencies.

The program will also develop ways to extend existing surveillance operations.

One of the main focuses will be attempting to stop the illegal or accidental discharge of engine oil from ships -- the cause of up to 20 percent of marine pollution.

The program will also cover shipment of hazardous materials, such as nuclear waste, through the region, and will audit oil terminals to reduce the risk of spills.

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