A wake-up call for New Brunswick: Matt Abbott on plastic waste in Bay of Fundy

With new research estimating more than 1.8 million pieces of garbage are smothering the Bay of Fundy seafloor, and with municipalities already positioned to move forward on a province-wide plastic bag ban, the Conservation Council’s Fundy Baykeeper is calling on the province to do its part in creating a system that makes it easier for people and businesses to cut the waste they produce.

“This should provide a wake-up call for the impact of single-use plastics,” Matt Abbott, the Conservation Council’s Fundy Baykeeper and Marine Conservation Director, told the Telegraph Journal in its Saturday, Nov.16 edition.

“We need structures in place, with policy and regulation and physical structures that allows us and encourages us to limit the amount of waste we all generate.”

On Thursday, Nov. 14, researchers at Dalhousie University published a new report, Benthic marine debris in the Bay of Fundy, estimating there are 137 items of debris per square kilometre on the Bay of Fundy’s seafloor, amounting to 1.8 million pieces of garbage across the entire bay.

The vast majority of the debris? Plastic waste, at 51 per cent.

The authors of the report consider this to be a very conservative estimate, though, and suggest that the churning waters of the bay could shift sea-floor litter from one area to another, or even bury it under the mud, meaning there could a larger deposit of litter still undiscovered.

A garbage ‘hotspot’ was identified near Gardner Creek between Saint John and St. Martins on the New Brunswick side of the bay, where a dozen garbage bags were found.

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