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Fed’s response to banning foam from oceans ‘unreasonable, unacceptable and, quite frankly, lazy’

MP Rachel Blaney wrote letter to environment minister asking to follow Washington state’s example
Styrofoam blocks and buoys washed up on the beach. Ashley Tapp photo

North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney says that the government’s inaction on banning foam docks in Canadian waters is “unreasonable, unacceptable and, quite frankly, lazy.”

Blaney recently wrote to environment minister Stephen Guilbeault voicing her concerns about the issue. She tells Guilbeault that she is “deeply disappointed that you responded to our petition on banning foam by indicating you have no intention of prohibiting the use of EPS (expanded polystyrene) in Canada’s waters.”

Blaney says that B.C.’s southern neighbour has passed an signed a bill to ban the use of foam docks as of June 1, 2024.

“The House has recognized that expanded polystyrene can have harmful effects on the marine environment, and it is critical we stop pollution at its source,” Blaney wrote. “Our nearest neighbours have taken action on removing foam from their waters, which raises the question of why Canada has not taken action and, further, has no intention of taking action.”

Blaney has made a private members’ motion to enact the ban, which was jointly seconded by other Island-based NDP MPs Alistair MacGregor, Lisa Marie Barron and Gord Johns. She also says there have been multiple petitions that also ask the government to take action.

Dock flotation foam is a leading cause of plastic pollution in Canada’s waterways. Blaney said that there are readily available Canadian products that could replace the foam-containing structures and are much safer for Canada’s waters.

“Minister, it makes absolutely no sense that your government is still refusing to take action on EPS and XPS in Canada’s waterways. How is it possible that we are still intentionally putting toxic substances in our waters, given that there are safer, less toxic alternatives available,” she wrote in her letter.

“Canadians want their government to act on this matter, not sit around and wait for foam to become an environmental hazard. It is offensive that your government is allowing, and even encouraging, this destructive and harmful element to be placed in our waters, potentially contaminating ocean life, when there are readily available Canadian-made alternatives available,” she said. “Other governments, like Washington State, have recognized the urgency of this issue and are acting. You have the power to do the same.”

RELATED: North Island MP wants to ban polystyrene to keep foams out of oceans

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Marc Kitteringham

About the Author: Marc Kitteringham

I joined Black press in early 2020, writing about the environment, housing, local government and more.
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