April 22, 2018 12:52 pm
Updated: April 22, 2018 12:55 pm

Federal government launches online consultation on plastic, marine waste

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna addresses a session on protecting the environment and growing the economy at the federal Liberal national convention in Halifax on Friday, April 20, 2018.

The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says she wants to see Canada move toward zero plastic waste by tackling single-use plastics like grocery bags and disposable drink bottles.

Speaking from the seaside community of Eastern Passage, N.S., McKenna announced Sunday that the federal government has launched an online public consultation to gather Canadians’ views on plastics and reducing waste.

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The announcement came shortly before dozens of volunteers flocked to beaches as well as McNabs Island to clean up shoreline litter to mark Earth Day.

Royce Walker, vice president of Friends of McNabs Island Society said his organization’s efforts to clean up the region for the past 27 years have shown him how the ocean can be polluted by plastic.

“So far, we’ve collected about 13,000 bags of garbage, and countless other large items,” Walker said.

“But in the end it doesn’t matter whether it’s an unusual item, or the many coffee cups and tampon applicators that pollute HRM. None of it belongs in the environment.”

According to the federal government, there’s more than 150 million tonnes of plastic waste in the ocean worldwide and it’s estimated that plastic could outweigh fish in the ocean by 2050.

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McKenna says under its G7 presidency, Canada will target ocean preservation as one of its top priorities.

“Plastic products are polluting our oceans and waterways—not just in Canada but around the world,” McKenna said.

“That’s why Canada is taking action through this year’s G7 and beyond, to keep plastics out of our oceans, waterways and landfills.”

Canadians can access the online survey through the federal government website.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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