Taking an innovative approach to plastic pollution: Local B.C. companies helping to minimize plastic waste in our waters
September 3, 2019
Delta, British Columbia — Each year, more than eight million metric tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans. Abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear (known as ghost fishing gear) is a major contributor to plastic marine debris. The impact of marine debris on wildlife is significant, with World Animal Protection reporting that 92% of encounters between marine animals and debris, including ghost fishing gear, can be lethal, primarily due to ingestion or entanglement.
The Government of Canada is committed to working with global partners, industry and communities to find real solutions to reduce plastic pollution in our oceans. That is why Fisheries and Oceans Canada challenged small businesses across Canada to find innovative ways to prevent plastic waste from entering our aquatic environments, to help clean up our oceans and waterways and to minimize impacts of marine debris and ghost fishing gear. Through our two plastics challenges, under the Innovative Solutions Canada program, we sought out innovative Canadian businesses and entrepreneurs to develop new technologies.
Today, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, on behalf of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson announced that two local British Columbia businesses are receiving a grant from Fisheries and Oceans Canada for their innovative solutions to minimize plastic pollution by recycling fishing and aquaculture equipment.
Ocean Legacy Technologies received $150,000 towards the development of proof-of concept for a marine plastics processing facility. Using innovative technology, this facility will allow the plastics from fishing and aquaculture equipment to be recycled, including plastics with organic or non-organic contamination, and those found during shoreline clean-ups.
Shift Environmental Technologies received $95,000 to develop proof of concept for an innovative Marine Debris Sled to extract and remove marine debris and ghost fishing gear from remote and hard to access coastal areas, safely and more cost-effectively than current methods. The innovative sled would deploy from a ship or land-based center to the beach head by tow vessel, and would be loaded with marine debris before being towed to a collection point.
Today's announcement builds on the Government of Canada's announcement to ban harmful single-use plastics as early as 2021 and hold companies responsible for plastic waste.
“Through the Government’s plastics challenges, we’ve seen small Canadian companies such as Ocean Legacy Technologies and Shift Environmental Technologies develop innovative solutions to protect our natural resources. We know that the long-term economic prosperity of coastal communities depends on the sustainability of our oceans and the actions we take to protect them. The innovative projects announced today are just one part of the Government of Canada’s actions to reduce plastic waste from our environment for generations to come.”
The Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada, The Honourable Carla Qualtrough
“Canada’s coastal communities are leaders in protecting our marine environment. Through the Innovative Solutions Canada plastic challenges, we are supporting Canadian businesses in critical work which will help ensure the future health and sustainability of our oceans. Ocean Legacy Technologies and Shift Environmental Technologies show that small businesses can have an important role in transforming Canada to a circular economy which minimizes waste and makes the most of our resources.”
The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
“Ocean Legacy Technologies is the newly formed technology branch of the Ocean Legacy Foundation, focused on creating innovative technology solutions to combat plastic pollution and stimulate the development of a Canadian circular economy. Currently, options for collection and recycling of marine gear have been very limited, often leading to the long term yard storage or landfill disposal of these items. Ocean Legacy has had great response from businesses, government, First Nations communities, non-profits and industry leaders to continue growing a formal program to better manage fishing and aquaculture gear at end-of-life. The members of Ocean Legacy look forward to working with the Government of Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on the new Marine Plastic Processing Solution. This innovation could be a game changer for our coastal communities by increasing our local plastic processing capacities to manage marine debris and industrial marine plastic materials currently entering landfill and our ocean ecosystem upon their end-of-life.”
Chloe Dubois, Chief Executive Officer, Ocean Legacy Technologies Ltd.
Each year, globally, it is estimated that 8 million metric tons of plastic waste enters the oceans.
Every year, 640,000 tons of abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear (known as ghost fishing gear) enters our oceans.
According to World Animal Protection, up to 92% of encounters between marine animals and debris result in lethal problems, including ingestion and entanglement.
In support of the Government of Canada’s Greening Government Strategy, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard became the first federal Department to reduce the purchase and use of single-use plastics by implementing the Policy to Restrict the Procurement and Use of Single-Use Plastic.
As part of our G7 Presidency last year, Canada led the development of the Ocean Plastics Charter, an international effort to reduce plastics in our oceans, and will co-lead its implementation with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Honorable Catherine McKenna.
The Government of Canada has recently announced that it is working with industry to prevent and retrieve ghost fishing gear, and is investing in new Canadian technologies to reduce plastic waste and turn waste into valuable resources supporting a circular economy.
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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