Nepal | June 02, 2020

Plastic straws and bags no more: Canada aims to clean up its act

Reuters
Share Now:

OTTAWA: Canada plans to ban some single-use plastics like straws, bags and cutlery by early 2021 to reduce non-recyclable waste and protect the world’s oceans, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday.

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 among the top campaign issues.

“To be honest, as a dad, it’s tough trying to explain this to my kids. How do you explain dead whales washing up on beaches around the world, their stomachs jam-packed with plastic bags?” Trudeau said.

“As parents we’re at a point when we take our kids to the beach and we have to search out a patch of sand that isn’t littered with straws, Styrofoam or bottles. That’s a problem, one that we have to do something about.”

Canada‘s move follows one by the European Parliament, which voted earlier this year to ban several single-use plastic products, and recent disputes with the Philippines and Malaysia over Canadian waste shipped to them.

Less than 10% of plastic used in Canada gets recycled, and Canadians will throw away an estimated C$11 billion ($8.3 billion) worth of plastic materials each year by 2030 without a change in course, the government said in a statement.

Canada has delayed implementation until 2021 to allow time for a “science-based” decision on exactly which plastics “are harmful to the environment and human health,” according to a government statement.

It will also give businesses time to adjust.

“The restaurateurs will take a hit, but some of the extra cost will be passed onto consumers, too,” said Claudio Fracassi, owner of the Soup Guy Plus restaurant in central Ottawa.

He uses Styrofoam soup cups and plastic utensils, but plans to switch to paper products, which cost more, he said.

“I want to save the environment. I recycle. But I want more choices (of non-plastic products) and the emphasis should be put on the manufacturer,” Fracassi said.

Canada may require manufacturers to use a set amount of recycled content, the government said. Also, federal and provincial authorities will work together so that companies, rather than just municipalities, take more responsibility for the recycling process.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business called for an assessment of the economic impacts of the ban.

“If done hastily, this policy could add a whole lot of new red tape to their plates,” CFIB President Dan Kelly said in a statement.

Canada recently became entangled in a political dispute with the Philippines over 1,500 tons of household waste – mislabeled as recyclable plastics – shipped to Southeast Asia in 2013 and 2014. Canada agreed to take it back last month after a protracted diplomatic spat.

Malaysia similarly said it would return 3,000 tons of plastic waste from Canada, the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom.

“The issue of plastic pollution will increasingly be seen as an issue for developing countries that feel they are being dumped with waste from rich countries that should be taking care of their own waste internally,” said Sara Seck, a Dalhousie University law professor.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Artist Christo, known for wrapping exteriors of landmarks, dies at 84

Christo, the Bulgarian-born artist best known for his temporary installations based on wrapping the exteriors of landmark buildings, bridges and outdoor spaces, died on Sunday at age 84 of natural causes at his home in New York City. "Christo lived his life to the fullest, not only dreaming u Read More...

People opting to sanitise homes, office spaces as COVID-19 infections keep rising everyday 

Kathmandu Handsanitisers, gloves and masks were our first shield of protection against the spread of coronavirus. And now people have started sanitising their homes and offices as a precautionary measure as infections keep increasing nationwide.   Muna Thapa had never sanitised her Read More...

SpaceX's historic encore: Astronauts arrive at space station

CAPE CANAVERAL: SpaceX delivered two astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA on Sunday, following up a historic liftoff with an equally smooth docking in yet another first for Elon Musk’s company. With test pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken poised to take over manual control i Read More...

Dengue

Dengue, scrub typhus infection on the rise in Gandaki Province

POKHARA: Amid the spread of coronavirus contagion across several parts of the nation, dengue and scrub typhus cases too have become a worry some health issues with their steady rise in Gandaki province of late. According to the Health Directorate of the province, 16 persons have been infected wit Read More...

Protests over death of George Floyd turn violent again despite curfews, National Guard

MINNEAPOLIS: Looting broke out on Sunday in Southern California, a tanker truck drove into marchers in Minneapolis and demonstrators clashed with police in Boston and Washington, DC as the United States struggled to contain chaotic protests over race and policing. National Guard troops were deplo Read More...

Nepal volunteers become local heroes during virus pandemic

BHAKTAPUR: When the new mother died in the hospital last month — the first person to succumb to COVID-19 in Nepal — her days-old baby was moved to an isolation ward. But the woman's body remained. Ambulance drivers and hospital workers, fearful of the contagion, refused to move the corpse fro Read More...

 Season's 1st tropical storm drenches part of Central America

SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR: The first tropical storm of the Eastern Pacific season drenched parts of Central America Sunday and officials in El Salvador said at least seven people had died in flooding. President Nayib Bukele decreed a 15-day state of emergency to deal with the rains that began pou Read More...

Dailekh reels under scarcity of tests as people return to district in thousands

KATHMANDU: As thousands of people are returning home to Dailekh from India, the district faces a shortage of PCR tests, increasing the risk of widespread transmission of Covid-19 among the locals. Returnees from India, who are placed in various quarantine facilities in Dailekh district, are at a Read More...