Plastics Campaigner, Oceana Canada
A plastics lobby group is suing the Canadian government for its attempts to fight plastic pollution. While all of us who care passionately about protecting our planet, oceans and marine life from the global disaster of plastic pollution — largely made up of single-use plastics — await the outcome of this landmark environmental case. Here’s what’s at stake if Big Plastic wins, from Oceana Canada, which backed the government’s decision to list plastics as toxic as the first step in fighting plastic pollution in court earlier this month:
- The world is drowning in plastic: scientists have found it in the deepest parts of the ocean, in Arctic ice, and desert air. It is choking sea turtles and killing seabirds, and has been found in beer, honey and every fish tested in the Great Lakes;
- Less than nine per cent of plastic waste is recycled and the vast majority ends up in landfill or the environment;
- Plastics break down into smaller and smaller pieces that have been found in human blood, lung tissue and even in placentas, exposing babies to plastic pollution before they’re born; and
- Canada’s plastic use is estimated to increase dramatically year-over-year if we don’t change course, up to six million metric tonnes in 2030.
The federal government listed plastics as a toxic substance to the environment under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act based on their harmful effects and as a necessary step to regulate single-use plastics – for example, last year’s ban on six single-use categories of items. The industry is fighting this progress, without providing any real solutions. Big Plastic lobbyists point to recycling as a solution, and worse, suggest the carcinogen-releasing practice of burning plastics as an emerging solution to plastic waste.
“The federal government must be able to stop the flood of single-use plastics going into the oceans, and this court battle is the foundation of fighting plastic pollution at a national scale,” said Anthony Merante, Oceana Canada’s plastics campaigner. “Now is the time to take action, or we will continue to see horrifying images of turtles drowning and whales washing ashore with stomachs full of plastic.”
Find out more about and join Oceana Canada’s campaign to stop single-use plastic pollution.