Charlotte Brady (left) and Anastasia Castro head the Kids For Plastic Free Canada. They were two of the students present at a special presentation to the B.C. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy on Tuesday afternoon. (File contributed/ Margaret McCullough)

Vancouver Island students urge province for protection beyond a plastic bag ban

Kids for Plastic Free Canada, Surfridermeet with Minister of Environment and Climate Strategy

Students and environmental advocates met with the B.C. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy on Tuesday afternoon.

Kids For Plastic Free Canada and Surfrider Foundation Vancouver Island hosted a small rally in the Premier’s Rose Garden before heading indoors for an appointment with MLA George Heyman.

During this meeting the group presented a new petition against single-use plastics, as well as a document developed in partnership with the University of Victoria’s environmental law department.

For years the groups have been leading the charge in banning single-use plastic bags in Victoria, and in 2016 Surfrider presented the City with a 30,000 signature petition to ban single-use plastic bags, which prompted the development of a bylaw banning the use of them in the city.

In July, the B.C. Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Canadian Plastic Bag Association (CPBA) in regards to the City of Victoria’s plastic bag ban, finding the bylaw invalid, saying the municipality failed to seek approval from the province.

READ MORE: Victoria to seek leave to appeal B.C. court’s decision to quash plastic bag bylaw

“We were obviously disappointed, but now we’ve got a new petition calling on the government to do more than just ban single use plastic bags,” said Chris-Ann Lake, spokesperson for the Surfriders Foundation Vancouver Island.

Along with the petition, the group is presenting a list of six recommendations and solutions to help alleviate plastic pollution in the region.

“It’s basically a road map of what is recommended to them and how to do it,” said Margaret McCullough, teacher at Glenlyon Norfolk school and mentor to the Kids for Plastic Free Canada.

ALSO READ: Youth die-in, occupation party held in downtown Victoria as part of Global Climate Strike

The youth who formed the group in 2014 are now in high school, but presented the documents along with children as young as 10 years old.

“It’s adorable to see these small kids handing over this heavy-duty document,” Lake said. “But it’s very poignant and achievable; if they read it they’d actually be able to take it and use it to move forward.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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