WATCH: A Vancouver Island Member of Parliament is calling on the federal government for a comprehensive plan to reduce plastics in our oceans and environment. This as more than a hundred restaurants and bars in Toronto banded together today to not give straws to customers unless requested. The Courtenay-Alberni MP says it’s a step in the right direction, but wants more to be done. Kendall Hanson reports.
When the owner of Island Sodaworks opened her Bistro in Qualicum Beach less than two years ago she wanted to focus on being environmentally friendly.
Not only is food from local farms but she also wanted to use as little plastic and create as little garbage as possible.
“We don’t have stir sticks we don’t have coffee lids we don’t have bags,” said owner Mandolyn Jonasson.
Ask for a straw and you’ll get a biodegradable paper one and any food-to-go leaves in a glass container.
For many restaurants, this may seem cutting edge.
In Toronto, for Earth Day today, 120 bars and restaurants were not serving drinks with plastic straws unless requested.
Straws are just part of the plastic pollution that endangers aquatic life globally.
A Vancouver Island MP says these are steps in the right direction but the federal government needs a comprehensive plan to clean up plastics in our environment and to stop the use of single-use plastics.
“When we brought this issue to the government they pointed to their Ocean Protection Plan but nowhere in their Ocean Protection Plan can you find ocean plastics or marine debris,” said NDP MP for Courtenay-Alberni Gord Johns.
“And as we’ve learned there are no funds and there’s a regulatory and legislative void to deal with plastic pollution.”
Johns drafted a motion after B.C.’s west coast saw the largest marine debris spill in decades when the Hanjin Seattle cargo ship lost 35 empty containers in 2016.
Many volunteers did what they could to clean the mess up.
A petition supporting Johns motion started last week and has already been supported by 70,000 people.
When asked about banning single-use plastics Thursday Prime Minister Trudeau said his government is looking into it.
“We are very open to a broach range of ideas and suggestions,” said Trudeau. “We believe in moving forward on evidence-based policy.”
Back at Island SodaWorks, the move seems like a no-brainer.
“I wanted to see originally if we could but now my customers love it,” said Jonasson. “We don’t need disposable plastic to consume goods.”
As there are many alternatives, plastic straws may be one of the easiest to eliminate.