Trudeau promises crackdown on plastic wastes—months after NDP MP won unanimous support for action

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      This morning, the prime minister's office did not mention NDP MP Gord Johns in a landmark statement about banning single-use plastics.

      But the imprint of the Courtenay-Alberni parliamentarian is clearly evident.

      That's because last December, Johns obtained unanimous support in the House of Commons on his private member's motion to eventually eliminate plastic pollution in marine environments.

      Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that single-use plastics—including its use in bags, straws, cutlery, stir sticks, and plates—will be banned by 2021.

      In addition, Trudeau pledged to work with provinces and territories "to introduce standards and targets for companies that manufacture plastic products or sell items with plastic packaging so they become responsible for their plastic waste".

      “Canadians know first-hand the impacts of plastic pollution, and are tired of seeing their beaches, parks, streets, and shorelines littered with plastic waste," Trudeau said. "We have a responsibility to work with our partners to reduce plastic pollution, protect the environment, and create jobs and grow our economy. We owe it to our kids to keep the environment clean and safe for generations to come.”

      Johns was motivated to raise the issue of plastic pollution on marine environments in Parliament after reading a report by UVic student Meaghan Partridge. It was released by the university's Environmental Law Centre.

      She cited a government of Western Australia document, which concluded that every year, plastic litter kills one million seabirds, as well as 10,000 turtles and marine mammals.