Addressing Abandoned Vessels, Marine Debris and Marine-Sourced Plastics in B.C.

Ocean plastic is an important and emerging focus for environmental protection in the province. The issues of abandoned vessels, marine debris and marine-sourced plastics are complex. Finding ways to reduce and respond to them will require creative thinking and collaborative efforts by various levels of government, First Nations, industry, organizations and British Columbians.

The provincial government is working to protect people and the B.C. coastline. This summer, Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo and parliamentary secretary for environment is travelling the coast to meet with First Nations, local government and community groups. She wants to hear about their experiences, learn about barriers to addressing the three issues and find solutions. Individuals and groups are finding ways to prevent and respond to these issues locally and the parliamentary secretary for environment wants to know how to support and enhance this work.Through these conversations, MLA Malcolmson will explore important questions with British Columbians: How to prevent abandoned vessels in the first place, and how to salvage existing ones before they sink. What are the most practical ways to clean up marine debris and marine-sourced plastics already on the ocean floor without the material ending up in landfills? What are innovative ideas the government has not yet considered? These are some of the questions the parliamentary secretary for environment will be seeking answers to.

Sheila Malcolmson, Parliamentary Secretary for Environment, and Ministers participate in beach clean-up near Tofino. MLA Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman and Minister for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser took part in a beach clean-up on one of the George Fraser Islands on July 5, 2019. Along with community representatives from Tofino and Ucluelet, a large quantity of waste was collected after a morning of beachcombing. The group collected debris consisting mostly of plastic and ranging from fishing nets to StyrofoamTM and marine floats. Beach clean-ups are an important way to prevent plastic waste and other litter from breaking down and entering the ocean. Thank you to the continued efforts of volunteers and local groups in tackling this issue.

Beach clean-up debris from George Fraser Islands, July 5, 2019

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