Canada Announces Plans To Ban Harmful Single-Use Plastics In The Next Two Years

Plastic bottles and general rubbish washed up by the sea litter the beaches in Prestwick, Scotland, 22 March 2005.
Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday that the country has put measures in place to ban most single-use plastics by the year 2021, reported CNN. In his statement, Trudeau declared that plastic pollution is a problem that can no longer be ignored and that it’s time to get serious about the issue.

“Plastic waste ends up in our landfills and incinerators, litters our parks and beaches, and pollutes our rivers, lakes, and oceans, entangling and killing turtles, fish, and marine mammals.”

The prime minister added that less than 10 percent of the plastic used by Canadians gets recycled, estimating that if extreme measures are not taken, Canadians will throw away an estimated $11 billion worth of plastic materials each year by 2030.

As the consequences of single-use plastic products have become more widespread and initiated new measures in various parts of the world to cut back on plastic consumption, Canada joins the fight to reduce their contribution to the problem.

The Canadian government estimates that around one million birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals worldwide are injured or killed every year due to consuming plastic products that they mistake for food. Even scarier still is the statistic that about a truckload of plastic enters the world’s oceans every minute.

Canada’s plan to reduce plastic waste includes working with companies to set targets on plastic waste, finding plastic alternatives, and banning certain products.

Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna feels it is about time that these new measures went into place.

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“We’ve all seen the disturbing images of fish, sea turtles, whales, and other wildlife being injured or dying because of plastic garbage in our oceans.”

The plastic ban goes into effect after countries, including China, the Philippines, and Malaysia, recently took steps to prevent Western nations from exporting their plastic waste to be disposed of overseas. Both Malaysia and the Philippines have announced that they will be returning plastic waste that was illegally imported by countries, including Canada, provoking the need for change in how these countries will deal with their waste.

Canada is not the first country to enact a plastic prohibition, as the United Kingdom set in motion a similar intention to ban plastics by 2020 back in May. The European Parliament also passed a ban on single-use plastic products in March, which included an intention to recycle at least 90 percent of all plastic bottles by the year 2029.