Canada is taking lead from the European Union. By 2025, the EU legislation also set a goal of having 90% of plastic bottles recycled, and to reduce half of at least 10 items that turn up in oceans
Canada will ban the use of single-use plastic as early as 2021, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday. According to The Guardian, Trudeau added a science-based review that will determine the specific items to be banned. The government is considering items such as water bottles, plastic bags, and straws. “As early as 2021, Canada will ban harmful single-use plastics from coast to coast,” said Trudeau. He added that his government is drawing inspiration from the European Parliament, which voted overwhelmingly in March to impose a wide-ranging ban on single-use plastics.
This way, they could counter pollution from discarded items that would otherwise end up in waterways and fields. Legislatures of the EU member states must vote on the measure before it can take effect. The announcement was made by Trudeau from the banks of a lake in Gault nature reserve in Quebec. This move comes five months before a national election where climate change and pollution are among the top campaign issues.
“To be honest, as a dad, it’s tough trying to explain this to my kids. How do you explain dead whales washing up on beaches around the world, their stomachs jam-packed with plastic bags?” Trudeau said. “As parents, we’re at a point when we take our kids to the beach and we have to search out a patch of sand that isn’t littered with straws, styrofoam or bottles. That’s a problem, one that we have to do something about.”
In Canada, only 10% of plastic used gets recycled. The government said that 1 million birds and over 100,000 sea mammals worldwide are injured or die each year because they tend to mistake plastic for food or become entangled in them. So, starting in 2021, the EU’s measure would affect a range of plastic products for which there are alternatives, like straws and earbuds. We need to start somewhere.
But, even though disposable utensils will not completely be banned, the EU measures will call for them to be made of sustainable materials when possible. Also, by 2025, the EU legislation also sets a goal of having 90% of plastic bottles recycled and to try and reduce the litter from the 10 items that turn up in oceans most often by half, at least. According to the EU, the changes will cost the bloc’s economy approximately USD 294 million (259 million euros) to approximately USD 786 million (695 million euros) a year. It is unclear as to what it will cost Canada.
Also, in May, around 180 countries reached a deal where they agreed to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the world's oceans and ends up harming the whales and turtles and other marine life there. Along with the announcement made by Trudeau on Monday, Canadian legislators also passed a bill that will ban the capture, captivity, and breeding of whales, dolphins, and porpoises in the country, reports BBC.
There will be a provision in place that allows organizations to keep cetaceans captivated, but only for rehabilitation purposes or in the best interests of their welfare to continue to do their work. All cetaceans currently in captivity will be exempt. The legislation was first tabled in 2015 and had been closely watched by animal rights groups. They were advocating that keeping cetaceans in captivity for public display is unethical.
"No tank is large enough or deep enough" for whales or dolphins to be able to live naturally in captivity, said Melissa Matlow with World Animal Protection Canada. Anyway, Canada is joining a handful of other countries in banning keeping such creatures in captivity solely for commercial purposes. This is a start, and with banning single-use plastics, this is a sure start to a better future, if not for us, for the coming generation at least!