“Preventing plastic microbeads from entering our waterways is an urgent action that needs to happen right now. The Government of Canada’s ban on microbeads is a big step in the right direction. We applaud the move and urge swift action in implementing the necessary steps to stop these tiny plastics from making their way into Canadian waters.” -- Mark Mattson, Waterkeeper
Yesterday, the Government of Canada announced its intention to develop regulations to ban plastic microbeads in personal care products. And this move should be applauded. Prohibiting plastic microbeads is an urgent action that needs to happen right now.
The long term impact of microbeads on the ecosystems and wildlife is of major concern.
While the Canadian government’s intention to ban microbeads in our personal products is essential, is it enough to stop the problem? Unfortunately no. More needs to be done to ensure these microplastics cease to make their way into Canada’s creeks, rivers, lakes, and oceans. Because once in the water, microbeads can’t be removed.
Our only course of action is to absolutely prevent more microbeads from making their way into our waterways.
In March 2015, Environmental Defence, Ottawa Riverkeeper, and Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, with representation by Ecojustice, recommended that Environment Canada place microbeads on the Priority Substances List.
This list specifies which substances are given priority in assessing whether they are toxic or capable of becoming toxic. It gives the federal government more power to control the use of these toxic substances in Canada.
Adding microbeads to the List of Toxic Substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA, 1999) is the next crucial step. Classifying microbeads as a “toxic” gives the government the authority to prevent these plastics from being manufactured, imported, sold, or offered for sale.
We fully support the government’s move to ban microbeads from personal products. We urge swift action to implement the regulations needed to help protect Canada’s waters.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper will also submit comments in response to the government's announcement.