Vancouver Coun. Adrianne Carr speaks on banning single-use plastic items at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Whistler on Friday. (UBCM)

B.C. cities vote to keep plastics out of oceans, nix single-use items

Motions from Vancouver and Port Alberni on the floor

B.C. cities voted to nix single-use plastic items and to endorse a national strategy to keep plastics out of ocean waters.

On Friday morning, delegates voted to endorse a Vancouver motion to expand their anti-single use plastic items policy province-wide.

Coun. Adriane Carr told delegates about the costs, waste and environmental impact of throwing out plastics.

Carr said that in Vancouver alone, “every week in Vancouver, seven million plastic straws are thrown away, 2.6 million plastic lined paper cups and two million plastic cups” are thrown away.

“The cost of dealing with just the removal of just this kind of waste from the garbage cans on our streets has been estimated at $2.5 million a year,” said Carr.

The impacts of single-use plastic items are becoming more clear, Carr said.

“In the oceans they’re talking about… 4.8-12.7 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans,” she said.

In a late add-on resolution on Friday morning, Port Alberni Coun. Chris Alemany went a step further.

READ MORE: Vancouver Island ‘ground zero’ for ocean plastics issue: Courtenay-Alberni MP

Alemany asked delegates to endorse a national strategy to keep plastics out of Canada’s oceans.

The bill, called M-151, was introduced by Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns and will be voted on in Ottawa this fall.

“The plastics that end up in our waterways are a global environmental challenge,” Alemany said Friday.

“More and more animals are washing up on our shores with their stomachs filled with plastic waste. It’s shameful.”

The resolution was endorsed, despite concerns from some delegates that the late nature of the motion did not allow them to study up on the contents on Johns’ bill.

The bill aims to create regular funding for an education campaign, community led cleanup projects, reduce use of single-use plastic items and create a plan to clean up derelict fishing gear.


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