Joining a growing contingent of lawmakers around the world, Canada's government is making moves to reduce plastic waste with bans in the pipeline concerning a range of single-use items.
The European Union, Peru, Australia and the US states of California and Hawaii are just a few examples of governments to recently ramp up the fight against plastic pollution. Some involve bans on plastic bags, others on straws and drink stirrers and others are far more sweeping and ambitious regulations that pave the way for eliminating plastics all together.
With the longest coastline in the world and a quarter of its fresh water, plastic pollution poses a big threat to Canada's marine environments, as it does elsewhere in the world. And much like elsewhere in the world, this is because very little of the plastic used in the country actually gets recycled, with the official figure offered by the government "less than 10 percent."
That makes for around CA$11 billion (US$8 billion) worth of plastic materials that are carted off to landfill and incinerators each year, a great deal of which winds up in the waterways where the damage it causes is still very much unclear.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a plan to tackle the problem on Monday, outlining a few ways that the country will attempt to limit plastic waste. It involves promoting and supporting innovation around alternative materials and introducing rules for manufacturers of plastic products so that they take on more responsibility for the waste.
It also means banning single-use plastics such as straws, plastic bags, cutlery plates and drink stirrers as early as 2021. Though the statement is strong, it still allows for some wriggle room as the government notes that it will ban the above items "where supported by scientific evidence."
"Canadians know first-hand the impacts of plastic pollution, and are tired of seeing their beaches, parks, streets, and shorelines littered with plastic waste," says Trudeau. "We have a responsibility to work with our partners to reduce plastic pollution, protect the environment, and create jobs and grow our economy. We owe it to our kids to keep the environment clean and safe for generations to come."
Source: Prime Minister of Canada
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