Plas­tics are ‘top of mind’

Clark will con­sult as plas­tics be­ing land­filled in­stead of re­cy­cled

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - NEWS - WAYNE LOWRIE

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]­


Steve Clark (right) out­lines the gov­ern­ment's en­vi­ron­ment plans as Brett Todd lis­tens.

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