Canada looks to ban single-use plastics by 2021, Trudeau announces

Canada is stepping up to the plate to fight climate change and reduce its production of plastic waste by joining the European Union in banning single-use plastics by 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced this week.

Our northern neighbor has already banned the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity, and now, just as the European Union and the Italian island of Capri, Canada is preparing to ban single-use plastics by 2021 in an effort to save the oceans these creatures live in and which we rely on.

Single-use plastics threaten to bury us as millions of metric tons of the stuff is piling up because it is unrecyclable. It’s also killing many marine animals in the oceans as it breaks down into microplastics that build up in the systems of whales and other creatures, eventually killing them.

Canada is also under fire after containers filled with their plastic trash ended up in Malaysia and is now being sent back because other nations are tired of dealing with the developed world’s trash.

So, Trudeau announced on Monday that Canada plans to ban single use plastics in two years, which could include items “like cotton swabs, drink stirrers, plates and balloon sticks. Fast-food containers and cups made of expanded polystyrene, which is similar to white Styrofoam.”

“We need to cover all of Canada with this decision and that’s why the federal government is moving forward on a science-based approach to establishing which harmful single-use plastics we will be eliminating as of 2021,” Trudeau said.

Of course, conservative leader Andrew Scheer whined about the plan, caring more about the economy then the environment and the planet.

“In the dying days of this government — with a scandal-plagued government, with a prime minister desperate to change the channel — we see another gesture without a plan without any kind of specifics about how this would be implemented or any kind of study on the impact on prices for consumers, on jobs, on how this would affect small businesses,” he said. “This is clearly just a government clutching at straws.”

No it’s not. In fact, straws are part of the problem because fish and birds swallow them and die.

What Scheer is obviously upset about is that banning harmful plastics hurts oil industry profits. But plastics are contributing to climate change and is threatening eco-systems far and wide. No place on earth is safe from our plastic waste anymore. There’s just too much of it and most of it can’t be recycled.

“We’ve all seen the disturbing images of fish, sea turtles, whales and other wildlife being injured or dying because of plastic garbage in our oceans,” Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said. “Canadians expect us to act.”

Indeed, the world needs everyone to act to reduce our plastic waste, and that means we have to ban single-use plastics. Canada is doing the right thing, and hopefully this decision leads to the United States one day following suit.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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