After the European Union and other nations announced bans on certain single-use plastics in October last year, Canada has now followed suit and put a ban in place which will also take effect by 2021.
In Canada, less than ten percent of plastic gets recycled, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – who labelled the issue of plastic pollution a ‘global challenge’ – said that ‘targets’ will be established for companies that manufacture or sell plastic products to be more-responsible for their waste.
He commented: “As parents, we’re at a point when we take our kids to the beach and we have to search out a patch of sand that isn’t littered with straws, Styrofoam or bottles. That’s a problem, and one that we have to do something about.”
It has yet to decide which single-use plastic products will be on the ‘banned’ list, but it is expected to include plastic bags, straws, cutlery, plates and stir sticks.
According to the United Nations last month, some 180 countries have now reached a deal to reduce the amount of plastic that goes into the planet’s oceans.
End to dolphin and whale captivity
In another positive move for marine life, a bill was also passed on Monday (10 June) that banned the wild capture, captivity and breeding of whales, dolphins and porpoises in the country.
However, organisations are to be allowed to keep cetaceans in captivity for rehabilitation, or ‘in the best interests of their welfare’ to continue to do their work, and all cetaceans currently in captivity will be exempt from the ruling.
The legislation was first tabled in 2015 and had been coming under close scrutiny from animal rights groups. Melissa Matlow, from World Animal Protection Canada, said: “No tank is large enough or deep enough for whales or dolphins to live naturally in captivity.”