B.C. shoreline clean-up groups frustrated after feds propose 'no plastics' pledge to G7

Ocean clean-up groups along B.C.’s coast say they are frustrated with the lack of support from all levels of government to remove plastics and debris from Canada’s shorelines.

Volunteers who clean up the coast want government action at home first

Shoreline clean-up groups on the West Coast say they are struggling to operate due to lack of government funding. ( Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Ocean clean-up groups along B.C.'s coast are frustrated with the lack of support from all levels of government to remove plastics and debris from Canada's shorelines.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked G7 nations to sign on to a "no plastics" pledge at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week with the intention of keeping plastic waste out of the ocean.

The move has left local organizations unimpressed.

Josh Temple, founder of Clayoquot Clean Up on Vancouver Island, said he was upset to hear Trudeau talk about a commitment to reducing plastic pollution internationally before addressing the problem here at home.

"It was shocking to me that he would be up there kind of posturing like this and trying to put the pressure on other countries to do something about it when we've been trying over the last two, three years to pressure our own government here in Canada to do something about it," Temple said.

He called the situation an "environmental disaster" with no funding to a handful of local groups trying to make a dent in the amount of debris constantly washing ashore.

Local impact noted

The government started to take notice marine pollution in 2016 after the Hanjin Seattle cargo ship incident left large pieces of debris washing up on the shore of Tofino and other coastal communities, North Vancouver MP Jonathan Wilkinson told All Points West guest host Khalil Akhtar.

Wilkinson said local organizations and environmentalists can expect updates on a plan to address Canada's marine pollution within the next year.

The Hanjin Seattle cargo ship hit rough waters near the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Nov. 3, 2016, causing it to lose about 35 containers which washed up along B.C.'s coast. (Paul Freimuth/Ukeedaze)

Gord Johns, MP for Courtenay-Alberni, agrees with Temple that the solution needs to start with Canadian beaches and coastal waters. 

"You can hear the sense of frustration from Josh, from the local community groups that are doing the hard work. These groups are working really hard and they're not getting the support they need from the top," Johns said in an interview.  

To hear the full interview listen to media below:

Ocean clean-up groups along B.C.’s coast are frustrated with the lack of support from all levels of government to remove plastics and debris from Canada’s shorelines. 8:18

With files from All Points West