Plastic pollution

Information sheet

Plastic pollution is considered to be plastic that is discarded, disposed of, or abandoned in the environment outside of a waste management system (such as a recycling facility or a landfill).

Plastic pollution is often classified by size, with macroplastics being larger than 5 millimetres (mm) and microplastics being less than or equal to 5 mm.

The Government of Canada conducted a draft science assessment to summarize the current state of the science regarding the potential impacts of plastic pollution on human health and the environment, as well as to guide future research and inform decision-making on plastic pollution in Canada.

Science assessment of plastic pollution

In January 2020, the Draft Science Assessment for Plastic Pollution was released and the related notice was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 154, No. 5 on February 1, 2020.

The draft assessment provides a review of the available information on plastic pollution, including its sources, occurrence, and fate, as well as on the potential effects of plastics on the environment and human health. The draft assessment is not intended to quantify the risks of plastic pollution on the environment or human health, but rather to survey the existing state of science in order to guide future scientific and regulatory or other activities.

Timelines

Timelines
Date Activity
March 27, 2020 Extension of the public comment period by 30 days, ending on May 1, 2020.
February 1, 2020 Publication of the related notice in the Canada Gazette, Part I, and start of 60-day public comment period.
January 30, 2020 Publication of the Draft Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution.
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