(File photo)

Since last year, the Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative has removed more than 127 tonnes of plastic from BC’s coastline. 

“Researchers have found plastic just about everywhere they have looked, from deep sea sediment to our shorelines,” said Laura Hardman, director of plastics at Ocean Wise, 

“This pollution is a threat to our health, the economy and marine life – from zooplankton to beluga whales”.

Single-use plastics (such as plastic checkout bags, polystyrene foam containers and plastic utensils) make up a large amount of the plastic pollution threatening to destroy our ecosystems.

Previously, the ban of single-use products required ministerial approval to implement the ban. 

However, in an updated regulation, the province will now allow local governments to ban single-use plastics without provincial approval. 

“Communities across BC have made it clear they want to be environmental leaders by taking steps to ban single-use plastics,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. 

“We will continue to work with all levels of government to protect our land and waterways from plastic pollution and the harm it creates. Local governments wanted the ability to act without delay, and now they have it.”

Previous bylaws to ban single-use plastics were already approved for the municipalities of Esquimalt, Nanaimo, Richmond, Rossland, Saanich, Surrey, Tofino, Ucluelet and Victoria.

Now, more than 20 municipalities in the province are working to develop bylaws to follow suit.

This change comes as part of the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan. 

The plan aims to make plastic pollution a thing of the past in BC by working to ban single-use packaging, reduce plastics overall, recycle more plastics, and focus on returning and recycling plastic bottles.

The province is also working to expand the products that can be recycled through residential recycling programs and is piloting new projects to use reclaimed plastic waste in new manufacturing.

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