The world’s oceans are drowning in plastic. Every year, 20 million tons of plastic waste enters the world’s waterways. If this goes unchecked, then by 2050 it is expected that the mass of plastic in our oceans will outweigh fish.
One year ago, I wrote a letter to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Coast Guard to highlight the need for federal assistance to encourage investment in marine pollution control systems such as Seabins.
In October, I tabled a petition in the House of Commons signed by many members of my riding of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford who recognize that plastics in our oceans, lakes, rivers and other bodies of water pose a very dire threat to sensitive ecosystems, wildlife, communities and individuals.
More than 170,000 Canadians signed the M-151 petition, calling on the federal government to develop a national strategy to combat plastic pollution through regulations: to reduce plastic debris from storm-water, industrial micro-plastics, and consumer single-use plastics. The petition also calls for permanent funding for cleanup of derelict fishing gear, community led projects, and education and outreach campaigns.
In December, thanks to the tireless work of my NDP colleagues and our constituents, Motion M-151 passed unanimously in the House of Commons.
In May, I was proud to be joined by NDP MP Nathan Cullen in promotion of his Private Member’s Bill C-429, the Zero-Waste Packaging Act. C-429 would prescribe that all consumer packaging in Canada either be recyclable or compostable, by law, because currently, when we put things in the blue box, only about 11%, on average, is actually recycled. The rest ends up in landfills and in our oceans.
Most recently, my twin girls and I were honoured to once again join volunteer efforts at removing garbage from our precious Cowichan River. My most sincere gratitude goes to all the volunteers who organized this event and to all of the people who came and gave their time for this important work.
It’s impossible to ignore the positive impact that NDP conservation policies have had in the House of Commons. With your continued support, I will look forward to advancing our successes by introducing a ban on single-use plastics across Canada and holding companies responsible. Canada’s coastal communities deserve nothing less.