Canadians demand nation-wide strategy on plastic pollutionPosted on April 23, 2018 by DrRossH in Plastic Limiting Regulations, Plastic Waste News
On November 3, 2016, a South Korean ship spilled 35 containers off the coast of Vancouver Island. The result was a mess of Styrofoam and metal that washed up on the famously beautiful beaches of Tofino and surrounding area. To make the situation worse, the federal government refused to provide funds to help with the cleanup, leaving local organizations and volunteers to do all the work. (The government said it was the shipping company’s responsibility to pay.)
For Gord Johns, the MP who represents the region, this experience made him realize the need for a federal strategy on (a) shoreline cleanups, which are an unfortunate reality in this day and age, and (b) an effort to stop the flow of plastic at its source. In response, Johns has tabled a new bill, titled M-151, that
“aims to create permanent, dedicated, and annual funding for community led projects to clean up plastics and debris, and to reduce the use of micro-plastics and single-use plastics.”
It is a good time for Canada to consider such a step. As president of the G7, environment minister Catherine McKenna has mentioned adopting a zero-plastics-waste charter and pushing anti-plastics interest beyond the G7 nations to the G20. However, McKenna and Prime Minister Trudeau have both been criticized for failing to take stronger action at home. Canada has not implemented any broad-reaching bans on plastics bags or single-use disposable plastics, despite several cities doing so independently. Nor does it seem to have any kind of comprehensive response to disasters, such as the one in Tofino, when they happen. Mayor Josie Osborne described the community’s struggle to get any kind of response to the Globe and Mail. Clearly it’s not a priority.