When members of the G7 gather for talks later this year in Quebec, don’t expect to see any plastic water bottles.
That’s because Canada is using its current G7 presidency to advocate for an end to plastic waste entering the world’s oceans, according to the Vancouver Sun.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made his intentions clear earlier this week at the World Economic Forum when he hosted a roundtable discussion with political leaders and executive from major corporations such as Coca-Cola and Unilever, the Vancouver Sun reports.
Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said later in the week at a climate change event in Miami that the country would be creating a “plastics charter or a zero waste goal” for the G7, the Vancouver Sun reported.
The G7 includes the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan.
“The health of the oceans is under threat,” McKenna added.
The threats facing the world’s oceans are varied, but plastic pollution has gained political traction in recent years as the scale of the problem has come into focus.
An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the oceans each year, which is like emptying a garbage truck of plastic into an ocean every minute.
Plastic poses problems throughout the marine food chain because animals often mistake it for food or get injured by it, and plastic leaches toxins into the water.
Late last year, the UN drafted a resolution that would compel countries to prevent plastic from entering oceans, but it was ultimately rejected by major plastic producing and consuming countries like the US, China, and India.
The proposal, however, was unprecedented and showed how the issue is becoming politically viable, according to the BBC, and that countries are exploring ways to curb plastic waste.
Some ways for countries to cut down on plastic pollution include banning single-use plastic items, investing in biodegradable materials, improving waste management strategies, and encouraging the use of reusable items such as reusable water bottles.
Global Citizen campaigns on cutting down on plastic waste and you can take action on this issue here.
The G7 is a gathering of some of the largest advanced economies in the world.
By elevating plastic pollution and zero waste to the agenda, Canada will likely add more momentum toward a global compact around these goals.
And if the country decides to not serve plastic water bottles at the event, that would at least make for a good Instagram story.