Nova Scotia

Environment Canada launches website to hear public ideas for marine litter reduction

While Environment and Climate Change Canada announced a new website for public dialogue on reducing marine litter, local environment groups are wondering why Canada isn't seeing more concrete changes.

'We have to move beyond websites and beach clean-ups,' says Mark Butler

Catherine McKenna, left, speaks at a press conference in Dartmouth, N.S. on April 22. (Steve Berry/CBC)

The federal government has launched a new website to hear Canadians' ideas on how to reduce marine litter, but an environmental group in Nova Scotia wants to know why Canada isn't adopting more concrete changes.

Environment and Climate Change Canada Minister Catherine McKenna was in Dartmouth, N.S., on Sunday for the announcement of the website.

She was also there to take part in a beach clean-up initiative for Earth Day.

McKenna rides a ferry to McNabs Island, N.S., as part of a beach clean-up initiative for Earth Day 2018. (Steve Berry/CBC)

People can share their ideas for sustainable design and production that would reduce waste, and collection and management to improve how plastics are collected and managed after use.

"I want to hear from all of you. Whether it's from the kids over here, from the community groups, just Canadians," McKenna said to the crowd.

"What are your ideas to help us tackle plastics, marine litter, waste? What can we do better?"

McKenna said they'll be publishing "everything we get" and then looking at how to move forward.

Mark Butler, policy director for the Ecology Action Centre, says he was hoping for more from Sunday's announcement. (Emma Davie/CBC)

But Mark Butler with the Ecology Action Centre said he was "hoping for more" from Sunday's announcement.

"We have to move beyond websites and beach clean-ups to concrete actions to reduce the amount of plastic we're producing and the amount of plastic going into the environment," he said.

Butler said he wants to see bans on single-use plastics, as well as programs that hold manufacturers who make the plastic responsible for recycling it.

"That drives change and that drives reduction," he said.

McKenna was also asked by reporters about the impact of this weekend's announcement granting BP Canada approval to begin drilling one deepwater exploration well about 300 kilometres off the coast of Nova Scotia.

McKenna said right now it's only for exploration and that there are strict conditions on what the company can do.

"We care greatly about the oceans...We need to be making sure that nothing happens and we're certainly committed to that."