Plastics are ‘top of mind’
Clark will consult as plastics being landfilled instead of recycled
PRESCOTT — The problem of more plastics being diverted to landfills is a top of the mind issue for the provincial government, Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark said Friday.
Clark said the government wants to consult with municipal governments and others in the recycling industry about the plastics as part of a more general consultation on his government’s new environment plans.
Clark, MPP for Leeds- GrenvilleThousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, said the issue of plastics would be looked at as part of the government’s review of all waste diversion efforts.
Ontario municipalities have raised alarm at the Chinese government’s refusal to accept certain types of plastics from North America that it used to accept. The decision has led to the plastics being diverted into landfills as recycling companies refuse to accept the plastics because they are no longer profitable.
Clark see the plastics issue as part of the evolution of the bluebox recycling programs that have been around since he was mayor of Brockville 35 years ago.
“It is very important that we look at all the waste stream,” he said. “The plastics issue is also something that is top of mind and we’re going to continue to work with municipalities on that.”
Clark said it is important for the government to look at best practices in other jurisdictions because there’s lots of technology and innovations in other countries than might be used here.
He made the comments in the town’s RiverWalk Park, using the backdrop of the St. Lawrence River to tout his government’s environmental initiatives.
“The historic St. Lawrence River is part of our way of life in Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes,” Clark said. “It’s a source of fresh drinking water for communities like Prescott. It brings thousands of toursits to our region for worldclass boating, diving abd fishing and we know the Seaway is vitial to our economy.”
Clark said the government’s plan includes measures to protect the river, including cracking down on polluters with stronger enforcement of environmental laws and tougher penalties for those who break them.
As well, the government wants to increase real-time monitoring of sewage outflow from municipalities to ensure that the public is alerted to any overflow incidents, he said.
The government is also updating municipal wastewater policies to make them easier to understand, he said.
Mayor Brett Todd said it is good news for Prescott that the government is protecting the water quality in the St. Lawrence. Prescott is a proud riverfront community and the St. Lawrence is important for tourism, commerce and the lifestyle in the town, Todd added. [email protected]media.com
Steve Clark (right) outlines the government's environment plans as Brett Todd listens.