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Surfrider Foundation, Ocean Legacy and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society outline solutions to BC plastic waste crisis at World Clean-up event on Kitsilano Beach

Saturday, September 21st 2019 1:49:53pm

A National and provincial 9% recycling rate is absolutely not sustainable
– Banning unnecessary single-use plastics such as bags and straws in a manner consistent with the bans ratified by the European Union in May 2019
– British columbians can refer to the complete Surfrider Foundation Canada’s guidelines to have their say on laws and plans to solve the province’s plastic waste crisis

(Vancouver, BC September 21, 2019) - Surfrider Foundation Canada’s Regional Coordinator Lilly Woodbury outlined the organization’s proposed solutions to the BC plastic waste crisis at the start of a World Clean-Up Day event at Kitsilano Beach.

Ms. Woodbury observed, “Solutions being advanced by the Surfrider Foundation and fellow ENGO’s who co-wrote the letter of recommendations to the provincial government include: banning single-use plastics such as bags and straws (consistent with the bans ratified by the European Union), expanding extended producer responsibility to fishing and aquaculture gear, increasing the BC beverage container deposit rate, setting the provincial plastic recycling target to 77% by 2025 and establishing recycled content standards for plastics commonly used in products and packaging sold in British Columbia. The problem we are trying to address right now is associated with the wastes plastic becomes, not plastics themselves. ”

The Surfrider Foundation spokesperson reminded British Columbians of the September 30 deadline for public input into the BC Government’s proposed changes to the Recycling Regulation of the Provincial Environmental Management Act. Woodbury went on to share, “To ensure the Provincial Government hears your concerns about the need to address plastic waste, please go to pacificrim.surfrider.org/programs/rise-above-plastics to use the survey guideline and submit your response. With one week left in the consultation period, we urgently need to take the time to participate.”

James Middleton, Co-Founder, of the Ocean Legacy Foundation, reminded people of the connection between plastic waste and climate change. He observed, “Comprehensive solutions are needed, British Columbians need to make sure their voices are heard or risk getting a new provincial plastics plan and laws that do not address this crisis.”

The R/V Martin Sheen, a research vessel owned and operated by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, was anchored in the ocean by Kitsilano Beach. “Sea Shepherd has been conducting water sampling research this summer with leading scientists from SFU and University of Toronto along the BC coastland using ROV to study pathogens as well as plastic debris from fish farms and plastics contamination in the oceans” said Locky Maclean, Director of Campaigns at Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. “We encourage British Columbians to stand united and lend their voices to ocean conservation. This means getting behind policies and recommendations that will phase out single-use plastics and polymers making their way to the ocean.”

The call to action on provincial plastic waste rules was followed by a World Clean-Up Day at Kitsilano Beach, co-hosted by the David Suzuki Foundation, CPAWS BC, the Vancouver Arbutus Rotary Club, Greenpeace Canada, and Sea Shepherd - who are conducting a brand audit of the top polluters from the trash found on the beach.

Media Contact: Kristina Lee
Email: communications@vancouver.surfrider.org
Phone: 778-999-8562

The Surfrider Foundation mission is the protection and enjoyment of the ocean, beaches and waves, which is enacted through a powerful activist network. We ensure clean water, healthy ocean and coastlines and accessible beaches for all to enjoy by finding lasting solutions to the threats the ocean faces. Learn more at: https://pacificrim.surfrider.org/

The Ocean Legacy Foundation is a Canadian non-profit organization that develops and implements plastic pollution emergency response programs worldwide. We combine sustainable technologies with education and skills training to convert plastic waste and plastic pollution into economic value while providing local communities with the tools they need to prevent plastic pollution and protect their local environment. Learn more at https://oceanlegacy.ca/

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is on a mission to defend, conserve and protect the seas and marine wildlife. From its earliest years, Sea Shepherd has embraced the mandate of the United Nations World Charter for Nature to uphold international conservation laws. With the largest private navy on the planet, we collaborate with governments who share our ships and use their authority to intervene and enforce the law. Learn more at: https://seashepherd.org/