The Canadian government will ban a range of single-use plastics as early as 2021 in a move to reduce ocean waste, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced.
Working with authorities and businesses across Canada, the government will look to ban ‘harmful’ single-use products such as plastic bags, straws, cutlery, plates and stir sticks, and will take other steps to reduce pollution from plastic products and packaging.
The government said it will also aim to introduce standards and targets for companies that manufacture plastic products or sell items with plastic packaging so they become responsible for their plastic waste.
Currently, less than 10% of plastic used in Canada gets recycled. A statement from the Prime Minister’s office said that without a change in course, Canadians will throw away an estimated CAD 11 billion ($8.29 billion) worth of plastic materials each year by 2030.
“Canadians know first-hand the impacts of plastic pollution and are tired of seeing their beaches, parks, streets and shorelines littered with plastic waste,” said Justin 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.”
Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson added: “The health of our oceans is vital to the economic, cultural and social wellbeing of Canada’s coastal communities. We know plastic pollution harms Canada’s oceans, wildlife, communities – and our economy. It’s a problem we simply can’t afford to ignore.
“We are working with industry to prevent and remove ghost fishing gear, to protect marine animals and the marine environment now and for future generations.”
A statement from Justin Trudeau’s office said that by improving the management of plastic waste and investing in innovative solutions, it will be possible to reduce 1.8 million tonnes of carbon pollution and create approximately 42,000 jobs.
The proposed measures and will align, where appropriate, with similar actions being taken in the European Union (EU) and other countries.
Under plans adopted by the European Parliament last year, single-use plastic items such as plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks and cotton buds will be banned in the EU from 2021.
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