Canada to ban single-use plastics to combat climate change and pollution

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Canada will ban the manufacture and import of “harmful” single-use plastics by the end of the year, the government said, in a broad effort to combat pollution and climate change.

Most plastic bags, cutlery and straws would fall under the ban, with some exceptions for medical needs, Environment Canada said on Monday.

“The ban on the manufacture and import of these harmful single-use plastics, save for some specific exceptions to recognize specific cases, will come into effect in December 2022,” it said in a statement. statement.

“To give businesses in Canada enough time to transition and deplete their existing stock, the sale of these items will be prohibited from December 2023.” It will also stop exporting such plastics by the end of 2025, to avoid international pollution, he added.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who first promised to phase out hard-to-recycle plastics in 2019, hailed the move as a boost to Canada’s efforts to tackle climate change. “We promised to ban harmful single-use plastics and we’re keeping that promise,” he tweeted.

“Over the next 10 years, this ban will result in the estimated elimination of more than 1.3 million tons of plastic waste and more than 22,000 tons of plastic pollution. That is equivalent to a million garbage bags full of rubbish,” he added.

In Canada, up to 15 billion plastic grocery bags are used each year, and about 16 million straws are used daily, according to government figures, and these single-use plastics make up the majority of plastic litter that is found off the coast of Canada.

“With these new regulations, we are taking a historic step towards reducing plastic pollution and keeping our communities and the places we love clean,” said Minister for Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault.

Global efforts continue on how to address material that takes centuries to break down.

Kenya, Chilithe United Kingdom and the European Union all have implemented various bans on single-use plastic products, while Canada’s neighbor the United States ranks as the world’s leading contributor of plastic waste, according to a congressionally mandated report released last year.

The United Nations, earlier this year, laid the groundwork for an ambitious and legally binding treaty to reduce plastic waste. The global treaty to “end plastic pollution” could result in limits on plastic production or impose rules to make plastic easier and less toxic to reuse.

However, the treaty proposals are tentative and have been rejected by the oil and petrochemical industries.

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Environmentalists also saw the coronavirus pandemic as a step backwards in the global plastic crisis for many nations. The use of disposable masks and personal protective equipment led to a sharp increase in pollution, with some 8 million metric tons of pandemic-related plastic waste generated by 193 countries. according to to a comprehensive study published last year. Much of the waste ended up in the oceans, threatening to disturb marine life and pollute beaches.

Greenpeace Canada welcomed Ottawa’s move, but said the country still needed to do more.

“Publishing the regulations is a critical step, but we are not yet at the starting line,” said Sarah King, head of the environmental group’s oceans and plastics campaign, in a statement. statement. “The government must pick up the pace by expanding the ban list and reducing overall plastic production.”

The Sierra Club Canada Foundation, an environmental charity, also I call the Canadian government to implement “even faster action to stem the tide of plastic pollution.” He said public pressure was growing and suggested the list of products be expanded to include drinking cups, cigarette filters and individual packs.

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The United States contributes more to the pollution deluge than any other nation, generating about 287 pounds of plastics per person per year.

Some states have made piecemeal efforts, with New York implementing a ban on single-use plastic bags in 2020. Earlier this month, California invoice It was introduced to reduce the production of plastic for single-use products, such as shampoo bottles and food wrappers, by 25% from the next decade.

The Biden administration issued an order this month to phase out single-use plastic products and packaging on public lands by 2032. according to to a statement from the Ministry of the Interior. That includes plastic and Styrofoam food and beverage containers, bottles, straws and cups, he said.

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