‘Finally’: Kid reacts to Canada’s ban on single-use plastics

Story by CBC Kids News • 2019-06-10 15:30

Prime Minister says ban could begin as soon as 2021

Two years from now, you might have to go to a museum to see plastic straws or bags.

That’s if Justin Trudeau gets his way.

The prime minister announced today that his government is going to ban a number of single-use plastics, beginning as early as 2021.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said he’s concerned about how the plan might impact businesses and consumers.

But Tessa Jenks, 12, said she’s relieved that Trudeau is taking this step.

“Finally someone is acknowledging us and wanting to make a difference in our country,” said Jenks, who has been trying to get single-use plastics banned in her town of Inuvik, N.W.T.

Jenks said she’s had to face the reality of plastic pollution during community cleanups and “it’s just disgusting.”

Tessa Jenks sits in a adult-sized chair in a formal meeting room.

Tessa Jenks is part of a group of kids in Inuvik, N.W.T., who’ve been protesting the use of single-use plastics in their town. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC)

Trudeau said the next step is for the government to research which plastics to ban.

Although the full list isn’t confirmed, CBC News has learned that these things might be on it:

The prime minister also said companies that make and sell plastic products are going to have to start taking responsibility for them.

“That’s such a big step to take and I’m glad they’re taking it,” said Jenks.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau smiles against a nature scene.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made his announcement about a national ban on single-use plastics in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que., on June 10. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Scheer, who will be one of the political leaders going head-to-head with Trudeau during this fall’s federal election, said there aren’t enough details in Trudeau’s plan to prove it won’t be a hardship for people.

He even turned his skepticism into a bit of a pun: “This is clearly just a government clutching at straws,” he said.

Jenks said the change won’t be easy for some Canadians, but it’s the “right thing” to do.

“Yup. It’s a big change,” she said, “but we’re just going to have to get used to it.”

Plastic forks and straws in a cup.

While the government still has to take a few steps before the single-use plastics ban can become a reality, Lisa Gue with the David Suzuki Foundation says she’s hopeful. (David MacIntosh/CBC)

A few things still need to be ironed out before this ban can become a reality, said Lisa Gue with the David Suzuki Foundation, an environmental organization based in Vancouver.

Single-use plastics would need to be listed as a toxic substance before a ban could be enforced, said the senior researcher and analyst.

The proposal "certainly sets a good direction,” Gue said, “what we’re looking for now is the follow-through.”

With files from Hannah Thibedeau/CBC News, The Canadian Press

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