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e-2389 (Environment)

E-petition
Initiated by Sarah Whiteside from Courtenay, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons in Parliament assembled

Whereas:
  • Our environment is being heavily polluted with plastic, and this not only has major impacts on aquatic life, but also on human health, and it is estimated that 74,000 to 121,000 microplastic particles are ingested per person every year;
  • A recent study carried out by Ocean Wise Conservation Association has shown that during each washing cycle 120,000 to 730,000 microfibers are shed from the clothes and go directly into waste water, and many of these microfibers are synthetic and therefore microplastics;
  • Annual estimates of synthetic microfiber pollution generated by home laundry and discharged into our environment are staggering, namely one quadrillion or 250 tonnes of untreated microfiber pollution directly released into the environment or septic systems, five quadrillion or 1,300 tonnes of microfibers retained by waste water treatment facilities, and 0.26 quadrillion or 67 tonnes of household microfiber pollution released into the aquatic environment after waste water treatment; and
  • Washing machine discharge filters are currently available on the market and greatly reduce the amount of microfibers being released into waste water and thus the environment.
We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to:
1. Legislate the requirement of all new washing machines to have discharge filters as of 2021; and
2. Provide incentives to all residents of Canada to install discharge filters on current washing machines.

Response by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable JONATHAN WILKINSON

The Government of Canada recognizes that addressing plastics pollution in and around the aquatic environment is a pressing global environmental issue that requires action at all levels of government, by industry and the public.

Canada led actions on this issue during its G7 Presidency in 2018, including the development of the Ocean Plastics Charter, the G7 Innovation Challenge and international investments to support related work in developing countries. At home, the Government of Canada has adopted a comprehensive approach to meet its target of zero plastic waste by 2030.  The government of Canada is working with provinces, territories, and all stakeholders to implement this agenda to keep plastic in the economy and out of the environment.

An important milestone in the approach was the February 2020 publication of the Draft Science assessment on Plastic Pollution, https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/evaluating-existing-substances/draft-science-assessment-plastic-pollution.html, which summarizes the current state of the science regarding the impacts of plastic pollution on the environment and human health in order to guide future research and inform decision-making. The assessment recommended action to reduce plastics that end up in the environment, including microfibers, the most abundant type of microplastics found in water globally. Research is increasingly pointing to home laundry as one important source of microfiber pollution. The assessment also recommended more research to understand the potential impacts of microplastics to human health and the environment and that action be taken to reduce macro and microplastics that end up in the environment.  

The government is currently considering all available scientific information, following international and domestic research on microfibers, looking to address knowledge gaps, and working to identify appropriate policies and risk management actions, where supported by scientific evidence and where warranted. A number of early actions have already been taken, including:

  • support for the Ocean Wise Conservation Association to support the Microfiber Partnership, a solution-oriented and multi-disciplinary research initiative aimed at developing standard protocols to better characterize the fate of microfibers from home and commercial laundering activities; 

The Government is committed to ongoing engagement with stakeholders to address microplastic pollution in the aquatic environment.

 

 

Open for signature
January 23, 2020, at 2:31 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
May 22, 2020, at 2:31 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Paul Manly (Nanaimo—Ladysmith)
June 2, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00225)
Government response tabled
July 20, 2020
Photo - Paul Manly
Nanaimo—Ladysmith
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia
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