In­volve busi­ness in ocean plas­tics pol­lu­tion is­sue, talks: McKenna

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - NATIONAL NEWS -

HAL­I­FAX — The fed­eral en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter says she wants busi­ness lead­ers in­volved when she and her coun­ter­parts from other G7 na­tions gather in Hal­i­fax this fall to dis­cuss how to re­duce the flow of plas­tic waste into the oceans.

Cather­ine McKenna, speak­ing at a news con­fer­ence Tues­day in Hal­i­fax, said Cana­di­ans are throw­ing out up to $150 bil­lion worth of plas­tic each year, much of which ends up in the wa­ter.

The min­is­ter said she wants to work with prov­inces, ter­ri­to­ries and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to draft a na­tional strat­egy aimed at com­bat­ting the plas­tics prob­lem.

McKenna said plas­tics pro­duc­ers should also be part of the dis­cus­sions in late Septem­ber when she meets in Hal­i­fax with her coun­ter­parts from Italy, France, the U.K., the EU, Ger­many, the U.S. and Ja­pan.

The U.S. and Ja­pan didn’t sign the so-called Oceans Plas­tics Char­ter tabled at the re­cent G7 meet­ing in Charlevoix, Que.

“When we come to Hal­i­fax, my fo­cus is mak­ing sure that busi­ness is at the ta­ble and busi­ness is very en­gaged,” she said.

“If you are pro­duc­ing the plas­tic, you’re part of the con­ver­sa­tion about how do we keep the plas­tics in the value chain.”

The G7 doc­u­ment called on sig­na­tory na­tions to dis­cuss ways to re­duce plas­tics go­ing into the ocean, with the Cana­dian govern­ment es­ti­mat­ing more than 150 mil­lion tonnes of the dis­carded ma­te­rial is clog­ging the oceans world­wide.

There are es­ti­mates in some schol­arly jour­nals that the vol­ume of plas­tic in the ocean could out­weigh fish by 2050.

Louie Porta, vice-pres­i­dent of oper­a­tions for Oceans North, said he’d like to see Canada com­mit to en­hanc­ing its sci­en­tific mon­i­tor­ing of the plas­tics waste.

He also said in­dus­try must take re­spon­si­bil­ity for the plas­tics they pro­duce — re­ferred to as ex­tended pro­ducer re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“I hope we’re go­ing to see real progress on ex­tended pro­ducer re­spon­si­bil­ity ... (with) pro­duc­ers stand­ing be­hind the prod­ucts from the be­gin­ning to the end, so there is no waste to clean up at the end of the day,” said the ex­ec­u­tive with the marine con­ser­va­tion or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Porta said this could mean a sys­tem where bot­tle pro­duc­ers re­move one bot­tle out of the mar­ket for ev­ery­one that goes in, or find al­ter­na­tives to plas­tic con­tain­ers. The Cana­dian Press

JUNI KRISWANTO/GETTY IMAGES

Scavengers col­lect valu­able waste at Si­doarjo garbage dump in East Java, on June 5. About eight mil­lion tonnes of plas­tic waste are dumped into the world’s oceans ev­ery year.

Cather­ine McKenna

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