U.S. and Japan Refrain From Signing G7 Agreement to Reduce Plastic Waste in Oceans

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Among many other issues debated at the G7 summit this weekend, there was also the problem of plastic waste in the world’s oceans. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the European Union endorsed the G7 ocean plastics charter and signed the pact. However, Japan and U.S have declined to sign the agreement.

The pact calls for all the countries that signed it to reduce the use of plastic items and if there are no available alternatives, to use plastics that can be recycled. In an interview, Mr. Trudeau stated:

“This is good news not only for the environment, but also for businesses, who can stand to benefit from reducing the costs associated to plastic use.”

According to Mr. Trudeau, Canada will invest $100-million to tackle the plastic pollution of the world’s oceans. Worldwide, only 10% of the plastics are recycled, and a great majority of it gets dumped in the oceans. At the moment, there are over 150 million tonnes of plastic waste in our oceans, and by 2050, there will be less fish than plastics.

Considering that the U.S. didn’t join the Paris climate agreement, it wasn’t a big shock to hear they’re refusing to sign this agreement too. On the other hand, Japan’s intentions are not yet clear, and the Japanese embassy in Ottawa didn’t comment on this matter.

Greenpeace Canada and Environmental Defence Are Disappointed

Greenpeace Canada plastics campaigner, Farrah Khan said that signing this agreement, won’t solve the crisis:

“This plastics charter is another non-binding, voluntary agreement that fails to secure the action needed to get to the root cause of the plastic pollution crisis.”

Environmental Defence, an advocacy organization in Canada, is also disappointed with the plans on handling plastic waste. The problem of recycling plastic is that by burning it, they would “further pollute our air and contribute to climate change.” The group asked for a different strategy, like banning plastics that can’t be recycled.

Mr. Trudeau said that the plastics agreement is one of the problems G7 can solve when they all work together:

“It’s true that we didn’t actually resolve all the problems facing the planet this weekend in Charlevoix, but we made significant progress in terms of forging a consensus about certain major challenges.”

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Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.


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