Jun 10, 2019

Canadian Water Nonprofits Take Action

Ocean conservancy & environmental groups request Canada’s health ministers take more action on waste & pollution

Ocean conservancy & environmental groups request Canada’s health ministers take more action on waste & pollution

Multiple ocean conservancy and environmental groups have requested Canada’s environment and health ministers take action to protect Canadian waters from plastic waste and pollution under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999.

According to an Ocean Legacy Foundation and Surfrider Foundation joint press release, the twelve groups also call on the Government of Canada to add any plastic generated as a waste to the Schedule 1 List of Toxic Substances under CEPA. These groups include:

  • Surfrider Foundation Canada;

  • The Ocean Legacy Foundation;

  • Environmental Defence Canada;

  • West Coast Environmental Law;

  • Friends of the Earth Canada;

  • Pacific Wild Alliance;

  • BC Marine Trails Assn.;

  • Coastal Restoration Society;

  • Sea Shepherd Conservation Society;

  • Greenwave Environmental Consulting;

  • Sea Legacy; and

  • Association for Denman Island Marine Stewards.


According to the release, the action will “allow the federal government to pass laws requiring producers of products containing plastics or using plastic packaging to collect and recycle them; prevent exports of plastics to developing countries; to require recycled plastics to be used in making products and packaging; to ban single-use plastic items that are not collected and end up as litter and marine pollution; and to reduce microplastic waste from clothing and other products that pollute fish Canadians eat.”

According to an Environment and Climate Change Canada study, “Canada’s plastics recycling rate is 9%”. Canada landfills burn 91% of the waste plastic every year, according to the release.

“We see discarded plastic bottles, bottle caps, cigarette butts, fishing nets, buoys, crab trays, ropes and polystyrene all along the coast and in the coastal waters of British Columbia,” said Chloé Dubois, president of The Ocean Legacy Foundation. “We can see it, scientists say it is having an impact and other jurisdictions are taking action. It is time we start treating plastic pollution as a solid form oil spill that it is. We need to act now.”

A review of data from 139 lab and field studies by researchers at the University of Toronto said, “…that there is evidence that plastic pollution of all shapes and sizes can affect organisms across all levels of biological organization. There is no doubt that plastic pollution can have an impact on wildlife, and there is compelling evidence suggesting macroplastics are already impacting marine populations, species, and ecosystems.”