Cleaner air, less waste and safer drinking water will lead to healthier and safer communities across the province. These important priorities in Nova Scotia were also areas of environmental concern discussed at the national level this week, during the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment meeting. “I’m proud to say that Nova Scotia is making progress in all of the areas being discussed on the national front,” said Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau. The council is taking steps toward developing a national air management system that will include a number of country-wide air quality standards. A review of the work will take place at the 2011 meeting. Nova Scotia has made significant reductions in air emissions to reduce air pollution. The province is on track to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in sulphur dioxide emissions by 2010. The ministers approved a three-year Water Action Plan starting in 2011 to ensure Canadians have access to clean and safe water. Under the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, Nova Scotia’s Water Resource Management Strategy will align with the Water Action Plan. To reduce garbage in landfills, the ministers also announced new standards for compostable products and packaging. Through a voluntary program, manufacturers can apply for certification to use a compostable logo on their product or packaging. Nova Scotia is working toward increasing the amount of material that may be composted and aims to reduce waste disposal by every Nova Scotian to 300 kilograms per person, per year, by 2015. The compostable logo will help consumers easily identify which items are compostable in participating municipal facilities.