Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns stood in the house of Commons today to demand a national strategy for plastic pollution on the even of the one-year anniversary of the Hanjin shipping container spill.

VIDEO: Courtenay-Alberni MP demands national strategy for plastic pollution

One year ago, 35 containers crashed onto Tofino, Ucluelet and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

A day before the one-year anniversary of the Hanjin Seattle shipping container spill that covered the West Coast in metal and styrofoam, Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns tabled a motion in the House of Commons calling on the federal government to develop a national strategy to tackle marine debris and create a fund to help pay for shoreline cleanups.

On Nov. 3, 2016, 35 Styrofoam-insulated shipping containers spilled off a cargo ship owned by South Korean shipping company Hanjin Shipping as it was making its way past Long Beach. The spilled containers crashed onto the shores of Tofino, Ucluelet and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and, according to the NDP MP Johns, with no government funding mechanism in place, the cost to clean up the mess fell onto local volunteer organizations like Surfrider Pacific Rim.

“To date, the government has provided zero funding to clean up the spill while community-led initiatives and volunteers have sprang into action and continue to donate their own hard-earned money and time to clean up efforts,” Johns said through a Nov. 2 media release.

Johns’ bill M-151, which he tabled today, “aims to create permanent, dedicated, and annual funding for community led projects to clean up plastics and debris,” and to reduce the use of micro-plastics and single-use plastics,” according to the release.

Johns said the motion draws from recommendations published by the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre in August.

“It’s a world class report for an important issue in my constituency and for the planet,” Johns said. “I’m thankful for the T.Buck Suzuki sponsoring it and for the Environmental Law Centre’s work, and very happy to try and get real legislative action on its recommendations.”

During the House of Commons Nov. 2 Question Period, Johns urged the federal government to create the fund and stop relying solely on volunteers to clean up after incidents like the Hanjin spill.

“Still, community groups are leading the cleanup efforts without any help from the current government. Government officials have indicated there is a near complete legislative and regulatory void for coastal debris cleanup and no dedicated fund,” Johns said. “The Liberals love talking about their world-class Ocean Protection Plan, but nothing is happening. It is a simple question. Will the Minister create a permanent, dedicated, annual fund for coastal debris cleanup?”

The Liberal government’s Minister of Transport Marc Garneau responded by saying the government is proud of the Oceans Protection Plan it launched last year, but that incidents like cargo spills are up to the companies responsbile for them to pay for.

“With respect to ships that lose cargo, it is very clear that they are responsible for the cleaning,” Garneau said. “That is the situation with the Hanjin.”

Just Posted

Tofino approves permit for cannabis production facility

Tofino Harvest Company earns two-year permit for town’s first commercial cannabis production facility

Tofino picks two frontrunners for pot shop permits

Retail cannabis in Tofino beginning to shake out as council continues to grind through process.

10th annual Tofino Saltwater Classic embraces catch and release format for Chinook prizes

Fundraising fishing derby has raised over $500,000 for community initiatives since its inception.

Courtenay-Alberni Greens name Sean Wood as federal candidate

Nomination meeting took place June 15 at Hupacasath Hall in Port Alberni

Musings from surfers about surfboards

“I tried to make it so it was easy to get into waves and not too floaty so you could duck dive it.”

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques returns to Earth, sets Canadian space record

Native of Saint-Lambert, Que., set a record for longest single spaceflight by a Canadian at 204 days

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Pedestrian struck by vehicle in Stz’uminus dies from injuries

A male pedestrian was struck in the early morning of June 25

Thieves steal two $40K chairs featuring gold serpents from Vancouver furniture store

Chairs believed to be the only two of its kind in Canada, police said

Poll: Rising gas prices force B.C. residents rethink summer road trips

63 per cent of respondents reported gas prices are impacting their day-to-day finances

PHOTO: Moose cow and calf relax in Williams Lake flower garden

The homeowners got a surprise when they checked their most recent surveillance footage

Two in hospital after plane crashes in Okanagan Lake

RCMP say wheels left down caused landing plane to overturn on lake

The world’s Indigenous speakers gather in B.C.’s capital to revitalize languages

Organizers estimate about 1,000 delegates from 20 countries will be at the conference

Join talks on international treaty: B.C. First Nations mark ‘historic moment’

Representatives of the Ktunaxa, Syilx/Okanagan and Secwepemc Nations participated

Most Read