Around the world, people and companies throw away more than $100 billion worth of plastic packaging each year. Plastic waste and marine litter, including microplastics, pose a serious threat to the health of our ecosystems, wildlife and economies.
In fact, 8 million tonnes of plastic flow into our oceans every year—the equivalent of one garbage truck full of plastic being dumped into our oceans every minute. This reality is alarming.
Keeping all of our waters and shorelines clean of debris is important for a healthy environment for Canadians, today and tomorrow. This is why the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, travelled across Canada this summer to encourage Canadians to beat plastic pollution. Now she is launching the Community Cleanup, a call for Canadians to clean up plastics from their local shorelines, parks and neighbourhoods.
The Community Cleanup will start on September 8. Canadians are encouraged to connect with their local MPs to organize community plastic cleanups. Throughout the week, schools, businesses and citizens can organize their own cleanups. On September 15—International Coastal Cleanup Day and World Cleanup Day—there will be three major events, in Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax, through the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, supported by the Government of Canada. People from around the world will come together to collect and document the trash on shorelines. You can join or lead a cleanup, on your own or through the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, anytime and anywhere in Canada. It is important to register with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup to contribute to global and Canadian data by recording what you find.
Halifax will also be the location of this year’s G7 Environment, Energy and Oceans Ministers Meeting, on September 19 to 21. The Canada-led Ocean Plastics Charter was signed during the G7 leaders summit in Charlevoix, where international partners committed to removing debris from coasts and shorelines. Canada is determined to lead in this effort. And together, we can eliminate plastic waste and reduce marine litter in our own country and around the world.
“Our lakes, rivers, oceans and waterways are a big part of Canada’s natural legacy. And it’s important that we protect these spaces from the growing plastic-pollution problem. On September 8, I encourage Canadians across the country to do their part and take action in their communities,” says Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
- Throughout 2018, Canada has served as president of the G7, a group of the world’s largest advanced economies.
- About half of all the plastics ever manufactured were made since 2000. The global production of plastics has been faster than most man-made materials.
- As of 2015, about 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste have been generated globally, with about 79 per cent of that amount ending up in landfills or the environment.
- Only about 11 per cent of plastics are recycled in Canada. In 2010, Canada released into the oceans from land 8000 tonnes of plastic—the weight of 75 blue whales.
- Over 90 per cent of seabirds have plastic in their stomachs.