Leadership by example to combat plastic pollution

plastic pollution


More than 2,400 Fisheries and Oceans and Coast Guard employees pledge to reduce their consumption of single-use plastics

By SeaWestNews

More than 2,400 Fisheries and Oceans and Coast Guard employees have pledged to reduce their consumption of single-use plastics in both their personal and professional lives as part of a departmentally-led Goodbye Plastic initiative.

“Each and every one of us has a role to play in tackling plastic pollution and protecting our environment,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“The passionate and hardworking employees of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Canadian Coast Guard are doing their part to reduce plastic that is polluting our oceans – a cause I hope all Canadians can participate and take pride in. Congratulations!”

Each year, globally, about 8 million tonnes of plastic waste enter the oceans. This is like dumping the content of one garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute.

Chloe Dubois co-founder and president of the British Columbia-based  Ocean Legacy Foundation  lauded the initiative saying it “is a wonderful reflection of the shifting awareness and management needed in combating single-use disposable plastics in our marine environments.”

“300 million tons of plastic is generated every year, half of this is considered single-use.  Without reducing our consumption and implementing measures to better manage these materials, our oceans will remain the largest landfill sites on this planet,” said Dubois.

The foundation has been in the forefront of ocean clean-up efforts on the west coast of Canada working with companies like Lush Cosmetics, fish farmers, and community originations to collect plastic debris, derelict fishing gear and other solid pollutants to be transported to its Vancouver-based Marine Debris Solutions™ Center. (image)

“We have received more than 100 tonnes of mixed shoreline plastic in only few short years of operation,” said Dubois.

“These numbers are staggering and only scratching the surface for what exists along what once were pristine coastlines.  Funding is now desperately needed to enhance the efforts of so many currently trying to make Canada a cleaner place.”

In initiating the Goodbye Plastic initiative, DFO and the Canadian Coast Guard is the first federal department to implement an internal policy in support of the Canada’s Greening Government Strategy and Actions on Plastic Waste in Federal Operations.

The policy commits the Canadian government to divert at least 75% of all non-hazardous operational waste, including plastic, by 2030.

“Taking action to protect our environment and strengthen the economy is a priority for Canada, and leadership starts at home…That’s why we’re working to make government operations greener,” said Jane Philpott President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government

Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada said; “With the longest coastline in the world, and thousands of communities and wildlife that depend on our oceans, lakes and rivers, we need to beat plastic pollution together with actions big and small. By reducing, reusing and recycling plastic pollution, we can protect our nature, create thousands of new jobs, grow our economy and cut our emissions.”

RELATED LINKS

Canadian plastic challenge aims to clean up our oceans

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