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Canada will ban the production and importation of single-use plastics by the end of the year as part of an effort to boost its fight against pollution and climate change, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
The Environment Ministry said most plastic grocery bags, cutlery and straws will be included in the ban with a few exceptions for medical needs. Officials added that businesses will have until December 2023 to transition and sell off their existing stocks.
Exporting these plastics will be banned by the end of 2025.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hailed the move as a significant effort to fight climate change: He noted that the ban will result in the “estimated elimination of over 1.3 million tons of plastic waste and more than 22,000 tons of plastic pollution.”
Government data showed that up to 15 billion plastic grocery bags are used every year, and approximately 16 million straws are used daily in Canada.
Many environmental advocates and groups welcomed the ban but urged Canada to take more action to combat the plastic problem. They said the list of banned products should be expanded to include drinking cups, cigarette filters and single-serve packets.
Canada’s decision is part of a global effort to tackle the ever-growing problem of plastic pollution. Kenya, Britain and the European Union have implemented a similar ban on single-use plastic goods.
Earlier this year, the United Nations established the groundwork for an ambitious, legally binding treaty to decrease plastic waste. However, the treaty’s provisions are preliminary and have been met with opposition from the oil and petrochemical sectors.