Quantcast

Canada to Announce Ban on Single-Use Plastics

Oceans
A display on single-use plastic pollution at the Vancouver, British Columbia Aquarium on June 22, 2018. Steven Lee / Flickr

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will announce a plan to ban single-use plastics by 2021 at a press conference in Montreal Monday, the Associated Press reports.


An announcement on specific prohibited items will wait until the government surveys a science-based review, but plastic straws, cotton swabs, drink stirrers, plates, cutlery and balloon sticks are just some of the single-use plastics that will be banned, according to an official government source who spoke to the CBC.

The official said the government will establish achievable targets and metrics to work with the private sector for a gradual reduction in plastic pollution over the next few years, Canada's National Post reported.

The full list of banned products will mirror the comprehensive list of banned products the European Union agreed to in March, which included oxo-degradable plastic and polystyrene fast food containers, which are similar to white styrofoam, the CBC reports.

The EU's aggressive move to curb plastic usage not only placed a ban on single-use items, but also took aim at plastic producers, holding them responsible for the cost of waste management and clean up. The member states will have to clean up 90 percent of plastic bottles by 2025. Items like balloons and sanitary wipes will have clear labeling instructing the user on how to dispose it, according to Deutsche Welle.

The Trudeau government is no stranger to partnering with EU members states on matters of environmental stewardship. Last year, his government created the Ocean Plastics Charter at the G7 summit in Quebec. The European Union and 63 companies immediately signed on, agreeing to find ways to reduce marine plastics litter, the National Post reported.

The issue of plastic waste has recently been a scourge for Canada and a public relations nightmare. Early this year, a report by the consulting firms Deloitte and ChemInfo Services commissioned by Environment and Climate Change Canada found that only nine percent of Canada's plastic waste is recycled and 87 percent ended up in landfills, the CBC reported. Environment and Climate Change Canada also found that Canadians throw away more than 34 million plastic bags everyday.

Additionally, since China stopped accepting plastic waste last May, Canada has been at a loss for where to send their plastic waste. Last month, the Philippines pulled its ambassadors out of Ottawa and shipped back to Canada 69 containers of plastics mixed with rotting garbage, according to the AP.

Environmental activists, belonging to the waste and pollution watch group EcoWaste coalition, protest outside the Canadian embassy in Manila on May 21 to push the Canadian government to speed up removal of their garbage out of Manila and Subic Ports.

MARIA SALVADOR TAN / AFP / Getty Images

While some municipalities in British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Quebec, including Montreal, have banned plastic straws and bags, there has been an outcry for a comprehensive and consistent national strategy from environmental experts, according to the CBC.

In addition to Trudeau's announcement in Montreal, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson will be in Toronto and Vancouver, respectively, discussing the same initiative, the National Post reports.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Tuna auctions are a tourist spectacle in Tokyo. Outside the city's most famous fish market, long queues of visitors hoping for a glimpse of the action begin to form at 5 a.m. The attraction is so popular that last October the Tsukiji fish market, in operation since 1935, moved out from the city center to the district of Toyosu to cope with the crowds.

Read More Show Less

gmnicholas / E+ / Getty Images

By Nicole Greenfield

Kristan Porter grew up in a fishing family in the fishing community of Cutler, Maine, where he says all roads lead to one career path: fishing. (Porter's father was the family's lone exception. He suffered from terrible seasickness, and so became a carpenter.) The 49-year-old, who has been working on boats since he was a kid and fishing on his own since 1991, says that the recent warming of Maine's cool coastal waters has yielded unprecedented lobster landings.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
TeamDAF / Getty Images Plus

The climate crisis is getting costly. Some of the world's largest companies expect to take over one trillion in losses due to climate change. Insurers are increasingly jittery and the world's largest firm has warned that the cost of premiums may soon be unaffordable for most people. Historic flooding has wiped out farmers in the Midwest.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of lava flows from the eruption of volcano Kilauea on Hawaii, May 2018. Frizi / iStock / Getty Images

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less
The Eqip Sermia Glacier is seen behind a moraine left exposed by the glacier's retreat during unseasonably warm weather on Aug. 1 at Eqip Sermia, Greenland. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Andrew Yang's assertion that people move away from the coast at the last Democratic debate is the completely rational and correct choice for NASA scientists in Greenland.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
hadynyah / E+ / Getty Images

By Johnny Wood

The Ganges is a lifeline for the people of India, spiritually and economically. On its journey from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, it supports fishermen, farmers and an abundance of wildlife.

The river and its tributaries touch the lives of roughly 500 million people. But having flowed for millennia, today it is reaching its capacity for human and industrial waste, while simultaneously being drained for agriculture and municipal use.

Here are some of the challenges the river faces.

Read More Show Less

Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

By Jake Johnson

As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.


Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.

AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.

"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."


The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.

"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.

As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."

"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

DESIREE MARTIN / AFP / Getty Images

Wildfires raging on Gran Canaria, the second most populous of Spain's Canary Islands, have forced around 9,000 people to evacuate.

Read More Show Less