Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns takes part in the beach clean up in Parksville on June 8, 2018. The clean up was part of a World Oceans Day event hosted by Johns. — Lauren Collins photo

MP Gord Johns’ ocean plastics motion passes unanimously

M-151 calls for a national framework for elimination of plastic pollition

A motion to combat marine plastics pollution was passed unanimously by a vote in the House of Commons today.

The private members motion, moved by Courtenay-Alberni MP, calls for a national framework for the reduction and eventual elimination of plastic pollution in aquatic environments.

READ: Vancouver Island ‘ground zero’ for ocean plastics issue

READ: Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns calls on government to “act locally” on ocean plastics

“The passage of this motion with a unanimous vote is a tremendous victory for our oceans and coastal communities,” Johns said in a press release. “It is a firm acknowledgement that direct and immediate action is required to fill the legislative and regulatory void related to marine plastic pollution in Canada.”

The motion draws on a University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre study titled, “Seven Reforms to Address Marine Plastic Pollution,” and identifies essential actions to fill what is currently a legislative and regulatory void when it comes to preventing and disposing of plastic pollution in B.C.’s oceans and other bodies of water.

The recommended actions in the motion include regulatory action aimed at reducing plastic debris discharge from stormwater outfalls and the consumer and industrial use of single-use plastics.

Programmatic actions contained in the motion focus on the need for dedicated, annual funding for the cleanup of derelict fishing gear, community-led projects to clean up plastics and other debris on shores, banks, beaches and other aquatic peripheries, and education and outreach campaigns on the root causes and negative environmental effects of plastic pollution in and around all bodies of water.

“This is the first step in the journey to rid our oceans, beaches, and shores of plastic and other debris,” said Johns. “I look forward to continuing this important work on behalf of the people of Courtenay-Alberni and in a continued collaboration with the many environmental groups, local governments, the business community and Canadians everywhere to address this crisis in our marine environment.”

This is the second motion moved by MP Johns to pass unanimously in the House of Commons in the last 30 days. On Nov. 6, Johns moved an Opposition Day motion on behalf of the NDP to re-invest $124 million in unspent funds for veterans’ benefits and services.

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