Canada Steps Up to Stop Plastic Pollution with Ocean Plastics Motion

Courtenay-Alberni Member of Parliament Gord Johns' Private Members Motion to combat marine plastics pollution was passed unanimously (288 to 0) in the House of Commons yesterday. The motion calls for a national framework for the reduction and eventual elimination of plastic pollution in aquatic environments.

Plastic Pollution Coalition and The Last Plastic Straw publicly supported the motion and sent letters of support to MP Gord Johns.

"The passage of this motion with a unanimous vote is a tremendous victory for our oceans and coastal communities," Johns said. "It is a firm acknowledgement that direct and immediate action is required to fill the legislative and regulatory void related to marine plastic pollution in Canada."

The motion drew on a University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre study, "Seven Reforms to Address Marine Plastic Pollution," and identifies essential actions to fill what is currently a legislative and regulatory void when it comes to preventing and disposing of plastic pollution in our oceans and other bodies of water.

The recommended actions in the Johns motion include regulatory action aimed at reducing plastic debris discharge from stormwater outfalls and the consumer and industrial use of single-use plastics.

Programmatic actions contained in the motion focus on the need for dedicated, annual funding for the cleanup of derelict fishing gear, community-led projects to clean up plastics and other debris on shores, banks, beaches and other aquatic peripheries, and education and outreach campaigns on the root causes and negative environmental effects of plastic pollution in and around all bodies of water.

"This is the first step in the journey to rid our oceans, beaches, and shores of plastic and other debris," said MP Johns. "I look forward to continuing this important work on behalf of the people of Courtenay-Alberni and in a continued collaboration with the many environmental groups, local governments, the business community and Canadians everywhere to address this crisis in our marine environment.”

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