OTTAWA: Canada plans to ban some environmentally harmful single-use plastics such as straws, bags and cutlery by early 2021 to reduce waste and litter and protect the world's oceans, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday (Jun 10).
In an announcing the decision, Trudeau said that in Canada less than 10 per cent of plastics are currently recycled.
Trudeau announced the move from the banks of a lake in Gault Nature Reserve in Quebec less than five months before a national election in which climate change and pollution are widely expected to be among the top campaign issues.
Each year a million birds and more than 100,000 marine mammals worldwide suffer injury or death by becoming entangled in plastic or ingesting it through the food chain.
"You've all heard the stories and seen the photos. And to be honest as a dad it is tough trying to explain to my kids," Trudeau said.
"How do you explain dead whales washing up on beaches across the world, their stomachs jam packed with plastic bags? How do I tell them that against all odds, you will find plastic at the very deepest point of the Pacific Ocean."
Canada's move follows one by the European Union, which late last year announced a similar ban.
Last year, Canada sponsored a G7 ocean plastics charter intended to spur a reduction in plastics use, and in May the United Nations said 180 countries reached a deal to sharply reduce the amount of plastic that gets washed into the oceans.
Exactly which types of plastics will be targeted will be a science-based decision, Trudeau said. The initiative includes requiring manufacturers of plastics to be responsible for the entire life cycle of their products, he added.