The government is banning plastic bags in swimming pools in a bid to curb the growth of the plastic bag problem.

Key points:A decision was expected in December, with the ban taking effect on August 1The ban was announced in January but has not been implemented yet, with some local authorities still using plastic bagsAs the ban was expected to be announced in December but has yet to be implemented, Environment Minister Alan Kelly said it was important to have a final decision before it was implemented.

“I’m hoping that with the announcement of the ban in December and the fact that we’re just now going to be able to implement it, that we’ll be able have a proper conversation around what is really needed in terms of our beaches and the community, and I think it’s important to get that decision out there as quickly as possible,” Mr Kelly said.

Mr Kelly said the ban would be applied to all state and territory beaches, including public swimming pools, as well as private ones.

He said there were about 800,000 plastic bags discarded in Australia every year, of which 30 per cent are thrown away.

“In Queensland, there are about 10,000 discarded plastic bags, that’s an area the size of New York City and there’s over 600,000 of those discarded in Queensland,” Mr Trump said.

“So there’s a lot of beaches where we’re seeing a lot more people throw away plastic bags than we’re actually seeing.”

“I would also like to acknowledge that in some of our communities in NSW, there’s not a great deal of community engagement about the plastic bags.”

Mr Kelly’s department has been trying to reduce plastic bag use, including by banning all non-perishable foodstuffs.

He has also pledged to ban the importation of plastic bags into the country.

But he said the current situation was a “big problem”.

“It’s a big problem, but we have to take the big picture, we’ve got to look at how we’re going to achieve the targets that we’ve set,” he said.

He says the ban is important for the environment, but it is not the only thing being done to tackle the issue.

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