Surfrider Pacific Rim image

COLUMN: Tofino and Ucluelet once again ahead of the curve on plastic pollution

Surfrider Pacific Rim chapter manager applauds West Coast’s polystyrene ban.

LILLY WOODBURY

Special to the Westerly

In the autumn of 2019, Surfrider Pacific Rim launched the Forget the Foam campaign to eliminate polystyrene takeaway containers.

Our ultimate goal has been to build community compliance and then approach the District of Tofino and District of Ucluelet and ask them to add this plastic item to the Single-Use Plastics Regulation, which currently plastic straws and bags are banned under.

Since this time, we’ve been working with businesses to support them in eradicating polystyrene takeaway containers and plastic cutlery and switching to reusables and locally compostable disposables upon request only.

Why have we focused on this item?

We’ve spotlighted polystyrene containers as this plastic is the most environmentally destructive resin.

Polystyrene never breaks down, and leaches toxic chemicals like benzene and styrene into the heated food people eat and into the ecosystems communities rely on.

This is an archaic material to be utilised for food packaging, and this is clear looking at the proliferation of bans on this material all over the world.

Our larger strategy with eliminating polystyrene takeaway containers is to bring awareness to mass polystyrene pollution in the media and use this as leverage to target other polystyrene products that are used by businesses as well as industries that operate on the ocean.

In reaching almost full community compliance, we’ve asked the District of Ucluelet and District of Tofino to add polystyrene containers to the Single-Use Plastics Regulation.

They have added polystyrene containers to the regulation, which will be enforced April 14, 2021.

Once again, the west coast is leading the way on action on plastics, with this buttressing even bigger goals as we wrap up 2020 and head into the new year.

Alongside and beyond these actions, it’s our vision to make Ucluelet and Tofino a leader in the effort to address plastic pollution in Canada, lighting the way for other locales to look to and follow.

It is our dream to continue contributing to the iconic environmental history that defines our region, and with all of our partners, add momentum to the movement to regenerate the planet.

Lilly Woodbury is the Chapter Manager of Surfrider Pacific Rim.

READ MORE: Tofino and Ucluelet ban polystyrene take-out containers

READ MORE: Tofino and Ucluelet add polystyrene to plastic ban

READ MORE: Tofino and Ucluelet officially ban plastic bags and straws

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