Updated: Oct 16, 2020
2020 hasn't been a great year for many reasons, but last week heralded the arrival of some good news with the Canadian government's announcement that single use plastics (including plastic grocery bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, and cutlery and food containers made from hard-to-recycle plastics) will be banned by the end of 2021. Since it can take thousands of years for plastic to decompose, this ban is undoubtedly a victory for creatures of all kinds.
There are many negative effects that single use plastics can have on the environment, including:
accidental ingestion of plastics by animals leading to their serious illness or even death
toxic chemicals from a plastic product can seep into groundwater during its long decomposition period
the chemicals used to manufacture plastic can get transferred to animal tissue if a plastic product is ingested by an animal, and eventually enter the human food chain
Although our work at Great Sea Project is mostly focused on eliminating the influx of plastics in the Caribbean oceans, and closing the loop on plastic consumption, the truth is that ocean plastic can remain floating around for decades, and travel thousands of miles in its lifetime. Shockingly, plastic that enters the ocean in the Caribbean can end up on the coast in Canada.
Without a doubt, the Canadian government's ban on single use plastic is a win against plastic for all of us across the globe, and we can't wait for even more countries to follow suit.