The Draft Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution, which sheds light on the extent of the plastic pollution problem in Canada, has been published by Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Health Minister Patty Hajdu.
“Science confirms that plastic pollution is everywhere and is negatively impacting our environment,” said Minister Wilkinson. “This assessment will inform our decisions as our government follows through on our commitment to ban harmful single-use plastics as soon as 2021 because Canadians expect us to.”
The Assessment reviewed the available scientific information regarding the impact of plastic pollution on the environment and human health. It confirmed that plastic pollution is everywhere in the environment, including surface water, groundwater, and drinking water.
The Assessment highlighted the evidence that shows the negative effects of microplastics on animals and the environment. It also noted uncertainties regarding the potential for effects on humans, which requires more research. In addition to this, the report looked at the impact of larger plastic items, like bags and straws, on wildlife.
This draft science assessment of plastic pollution will help inform the Government of Canada’s actions and policies as it follows through on its commitment to ban harmful single-use plastics. The government is working to have new regulations in place as early as 2021, where supported by scientific evidence and warranted.
The Government of Canada will be publishing the Draft Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution in Part I of the Canada Gazette for a 60-day public comment period. Public comments will inform the final science assessment.
The Government of Canada will also be investing in research that will help expand our understanding of the impacts of plastic. Scientists are invited to apply for funding.