National single-use plastics ban welcome move to reduce pollution plaguing our oceans, rivers, forests and parks 

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Fredericton, NB — The federal government has announced its intention to regulate plastic production, use and disposal under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, a move that should help citizens, governments and retailers reduce plastic pollution that plagues our oceans and sea life, and dots the province’s forests, parks and rivers.  

We congratulate Minister Wilkinson and Environment and Climate Change Canada for the proposed plastic pollution management approach and look forward to commenting on the draft regulation once it is released. 

We welcome the Minister’s list of single-use plastic items, including grocery bags, that are being considered for a ban across the country. This will assist municipalities in New Brunswick who have introduced local by-laws prohibiting their use, like Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe. 

New Brunswickers saw stark and disheartening evidence of the pervasive litter problem in our waters when a fisher in Grand Manan caught a lobster with part of the iconic Pepsi logo imprinted on its claw like a tattoo. Often we think of garbage floating on top of the water and washing ashore our beaches. The ‘Pepsi lobster’ showed there is no part of the ocean, from the surface to the seafloor and all creatures who live throughout, free of the risk of damage from people’s garbage. 

Last fall, when we asked citizens in the four Atlantic provinces their opinion about major threats to the marine environment, plastic and pollution were top of mind (83% and 82% respectively). These were followed by climate change (67%), overfishing (59%), oil tankers and offshore oil and gas (48%), and finally shipping and transport (21%). 

Participants supported stronger laws for pollution and plastic (86%), the oil and gas industry (74%), and fisheries (61%) to address these threats. In terms of specific measures to protect the ocean, 85% supported protecting endangered species and 73% supported creating protected areas. 

In July, provincial ministers of environment from across the country, including New Brunswick,  signed on to a Canada Wide Action Plan on Zero Plastic Waste

For more information, contact:

Jon MacNeill, Communications Director, Conservation Council: jon.macneill@conservationcouncil.ca; 506-238-3539 (cell)