Today is World Environment Day.
Established by the United Nations in 1974, this year’s theme is #BeatPlasticPollution, an important environmental challenge for communities in New Brunswick and across the planet.
We have a plastic problem in Canada. In our country alone, nearly 90 per cent of plastics end up incinerated or in our landfills, lakes, parks and oceans. There, they contaminate our cherished natural spaces, kill wildlife, and leach toxic chemicals. It’s time for action!
Over the past year, New Brunswickers have shown tremendous support for progressive change to kick our province’s bad plastic habits.
A recent independent poll found that more than 70 percent of respondents in Moncton, Fredericton and Saint John are fully in support of a ban on single-use plastic bags.
Moncton city council is looking at a ban on single-use plastic bags, while restaurants and businesses across the province are already taking steps to reduce the plastic pollution littering our land and oceans.
Last fall, our Fundy Baykeeper spoke to media outlets across the world about the growing problem of plastic pollution when a lobster with a Pepsi can logo imprinted on its claw was caught in the Bay of Fundy — a stark example of the staggering amount of garbage collecting in the ocean.
Beating plastic pollution calls for a new approach to how we design, produce and use products in our daily lives. Plastic production is expected to nearly double over the next 10-15 years, so we, as consumers, need to exercise our power and be the drivers of change!
Three easy ways to reduce your plastic waste include:
- Buy in bulk – reduce packaging, less single-use plastics!
- Ditch the straw – it takes them 200 years to break down!
- Boxes over bottles – compostable and recyclable!
Every little bit we can do in our community makes a big difference, but we also need leadership from government to get this problem under control.
Yesterday, your Conservation Council joined more than 40 of Canada’s leading environmental and civil society groups in releasing a joint declaration on plastics, urging the federal government to use its G7 presidency to take meaningful action on plastic pollution.
The declaration demands ambitious national targets for plastics recycling and provides a road map to a zero-waste future, calling on government to ban harmful or non-recyclable plastics and to make producers of packaging responsible for the capture and recycling of their own products. Read the full declaration here.
Plastic pollution will be a central theme of the G7 summit on June 8-9, hosted in Quebec. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna have suggested they will advocate for a Paris-style international charter on plastics. We and our partners across Canada are calling on the federal government to commit to decisive action on plastic pollution at home, while using the G7 summit to make progress on international action.