Canada plans to ban some single-use plastics like straws, bags and cutlery by early 2021 to reduce waste and litter 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 widely expected to be 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 Union, which late last year announced a similar ban.
Last year, Canada sponsored a G7 ocean plastics charter intended to spur a reduction in plastics use, and in May the United Nations said 180 countries reached a deal to sharply reduce the amount of plastic that gets washed into the oceans.
Exactly which types of plastics will be targeted will be a science-based decision, Trudeau said. The initiative includes requiring manufacturers of plastics to be responsible for the entire life cycle of their products, he added.