OTTAWA — An Oceana Canada-commissioned Abacus Data study conducted from June 2-6, 2020, shows that the vast majority – 86 per cent – of Canadians want the government to fulfill its commitment to ban harmful single-use plastics by 2021. This compares to a similar survey conducted in 2019 that found 81 per cent of Canadians supported such a ban.
“This research shows that more than ever, Canadians want a future without harmful single-use plastics,” said Kim Elmslie, Campaign Director, Oceana Canada. “Unequivocally, we want the Canadian government to take swift and effective action to end the growing plastic disaster.”
Earlier this month on World Oceans Day, Oceana Canada launched a petition calling on the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Environment to fulfil their mandate commitment to ban unnecessary single-use plastics – such as straws, bottles, cups and other food packaging – by 2021. To date, more than 50,000 people have signed our petition calling for action on this issue. Oceana Canada also released a video today to help illustrate the impact of plastic pollution.
Twenty-two million kilograms of plastic leaks into the ocean every day, equivalent to one garbage truck per minute, threatening marine life and ecosystems. It is everywhere and in everything, and it never goes away. Over time, plastic breaks down into tiny pieces, which we all eat and breathe in. It is in Arctic ice, every fish tested in the Great Lakes, beluga whales, seabirds and more than half of all sea turtles. Plastics are on the seafloor in the deepest parts of the ocean, in the ocean breeze and have even now been found in rain. To make matters worse, plastic production is expected to increase fourfold by 2050.
In Canada alone:
• Less than 10 per cent of the plastic discarded is recycled.
• 47 per cent of the plastic waste generated comes from plastic packaging and single-use plastics.
• Canada creates 3.3 million tonnes of plastic waste every year.
• 29,000 tonnes of plastic leaks into Canada’s environment every year due to poorly managed plastic waste.
“Plastic is so prevalent in our lives that it is almost impossible to live completely plastic free. It is everywhere: from plastic-lined coffee cups to plastic pens and plastic cutlery offered with takeout,” said Elmslie. “But there is still hope for our oceans. We can end the plastic disaster for ourselves, for our oceans and for our future by stopping it at the source. By implementing the promised national ban, our government has an opportunity to show leadership in helping solve this global crisis that we as a country are contributing to.”
Oceana Canada was established as an independent charity in 2015 and is part of the largest international advocacy group dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana Canada has successfully campaigned to end the shark fin trade, make rebuilding depleted fish populations the law, improve the way fisheries are managed and protect marine habitat. We work with civil society, academics, fishers, Indigenous Peoples and the federal government to return Canada’s formerly vibrant oceans to health and abundance. By restoring Canada’s oceans, we can strengthen our communities, reap greater economic and nutritional benefits and protect our future.