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Water Today Title January 18, 2021

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Update 2018/6/7
G7 Charlevoix Summit 2018


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By Michelle Moore

Canada plans to use its presidency of the G7 in Charlevoix Quebec on June 8-9 to persuade other countries to adopt goals to reduce waste and recycle plastics. In March, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said they would strive for a zero-plastics-waste charter.

According to Environment Canada, it's estimated that less than 11% of plastics are recycled in Canada, at this rate, plastics could outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050. The department launched a website in April asking Canadians to submit suggestions on how to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in our oceans.

Canada will also attempt to convince their fellow G7 countries to adopt a ban on microbeads. Canada established such a ban on January 1 2018 effectively classifying them as a toxic substance under the Environmental Protection Act. Over the counter drugs and natural health products were initially excluded from the ban but will be included by July 1 2018.

Leading up to the G7 Summit, The Canadian Plastics Industry Association and the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada announced new goals to make all plastic packaging recyclable or "recoverable" by 2030, and actually entirely diverted from landfills by 2040.

On the same day environmental groups such as The David Suzuki Foundation, The Sierra Club of Canada and Living Oceans released a series of recommendations they hope will influence Canada to form concrete policies around reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in our landfills and oceans.

This reporter spoke to Senator Rosa Galvez the day before the summit for comment. Senator Galvez said "it's interesting because actually Canada is lagging, it's behind, because there are already close to 50 countries that have passed and enacted some kind of ban on plastics. Just yesterday in South America, Peru and Chile passed these bills, so I think that if Canada proposes this it should be passed rather easily."

When asked what kind of policies Canada plans to propose for here at home Senator Galvez said "what exactly is going to be proposed I think right now only the government knows ... For sure I think that styrofoam has been talked about for years now and the fact that there are not too many facilities where it can be recycled. The other thing is single-use plastic like plates, water bottles, straws, grocery bags..."

Senator Galvez discussed that while reusing and recycling is key, the growing population means that the abundance of items alone is staggering.

Senator Galvez explained, "I would like to see is not only creating and enforcing recycling but mostly changing our habits of consumption ... We have to move things at different levels, so one level is recycling and reusing but another thing is to stop consumption in the first place. When we go to the grocery store and everywhere else, ask ourselves do we need this, do we really need this? And stop the irrational consumption of plastics."


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