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Last week, we published my investigation into the risks of ocean plastic pollution on the Canadian environment. The story highlights how the government has no plan in place to clean up thousands of kilograms of plastic washing onto Canada’s shores every year. Instead, cleanup efforts are left to volunteers who reach a fraction of Canada’s immense coastline.
I’m left with one key question: Now what?
A lot of people think that Canada needs a plan to clean up the mess — especially in remote areas. Hundreds of them are currently rallying around a petition to the House of Commons calling the government to “establish a national strategy to combat plastic pollution.” And there’s a report from the Environmental Law Centre that highlights a range of policies Canada could consider from regulating stormwater outfalls to banning plastic bags. But beyond policies, I’ve heard from people who want to know what they can do.
That’s why I made this list of 10 things people concerned about plastic pollution can do. You can also watch a BBC video about five ways to break up with plastic. But, in the big picture, our plastic problem likely isn’t going away anytime soon.
So I’m planning to follow up my investigation by doing in-depth digging into some of the possible solutions. Some ideas that I’ve come across and that have been recommended by readers include:
- Ways to clean up or stop the flow of litter, like a barrier for stopping plastic pollution with bubbles and a floating technology that says it could clear half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in five years;
- Efforts to decrease how much disposable packaging people use and throw away when shopping and going about their daily routines by groups like Zero Waste Canada and businesses like Vancouver’s Nada Grocery; and
- Companies working on technologies and systems to help reduce the impact of plastic waste, such as efforts to turn plastic into fuel and do a better job of recycling the plastic that’s already been made.
I’d value your guidance on where to go from here. What are you most interested in? Do you know about solutions I should cover? Are there particular questions you’d like me to explore? Join this discussion on The Discourse, message me on Facebook or Twitter, or email me to share your thoughts.
Check out my reporting on plastic pollution:
- Canada’s #PlasticPileup exposes environmental policy gaps: Thousands of kilograms of plastic garbage are piling up on the seabed and on Canada’s shores, but the government doesn’t yet have a domestic strategy to tackle marine debris.
- How plastic gets into the ocean: There are more than 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean. This video explains how they got there.
- How microplastics get into the food system: Microplastics in the ocean are ingested by all kinds of animals and could ultimately end up on your dinner plate.
- What you can do about plastic pollution: Tired of hearing about the problem? I made a list of 10 things you can do if you’re concerned.
- Garbage or art?: Ocean plastic pollution might be a constant fixture in today’s headlines, but it’s a problem that beachcombing marine debris artists have known about for decades. [end]