The Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) is hoping more Canadians put a wrap on single use plastics during Rivers to Oceans Week June 8-14 as part of its group of seven strategies for freshwater and marine conservation.
“I commend the many Canadians that have volunteered to reduce their dependence on plastics and look forward to working with the public and legislators to ensure that our waters and the wildlife that depend on them are conserved for future generations,” said Rick Bates, CEO of CWF. “If united efforts are not taken there may be more plastics than fish in the ocean by 2050. We have to work together to turn the tide on pollution.”
Flowing from World Oceans Day June 8 through Canadian Rivers Day on June 10 and running concurrent to the 2018 G7 Summit in Quebec, Rivers to Oceans Week is the perfect launching point for concerted conservation efforts, Bates said. The Canadian Wildlife Federation created a website to help the public learn more about their plastic consumption and its effects on wildlife populations from coast to coast.
Many species such as whales, sea lions, fish and sea turtles and birds are affected by pollution in a variety of ways including entanglements and ingestion of foreign substances which can lead to disease and death from cancers, liver disease and other problems.
“The Canadian Wildlife Federation is committed to understanding the extent to which plastics are infiltrating our waters as well as how they are affecting the wildlife that live there,” Bates said. “CWF is also encouraging co-operative and innovative approaches to developing effective solutions on individual, national and international scales.”
The CWF G7 includes:
1. Encouraging the public to #StopSingleUse plastics
2. Encouraging the federal government to advance the national sustainable packaging initiative which will also reduce plastic waste
3. Encouraging parliamentarians and the Senate to quickly pass the updated federal Fisheries Act, now going into its third reading in the House of Commons
4. Encouraging a national ban of neonicotinoids, also known as neonics, nicotine-based chemicals applied to plants and seeds which can leech into waterways among other harmful effects on pollinators
5. Encouraging the public to become citizen scientists by posting wildlife observations to iNaturalist.ca, a website and app that generates a national database of biodiversity. Ocean observations are especially important at this time as we try to conserve critically endangered Right Whales and other marine animals.
6. Encouraging Canadians to join The Watch, a new program guiding citizens in reporting marine animal emergencies.
7. Thanking the many Canadians that make conservation part of their lifestyle, such as the winners of the 2018 Canadian Conservation Achievement Awards, to be recognized June 16 in Regina.
This year’s seven winners all have a special connection to the water, and come from Belcarra, BC, Edmonton, Alta., Bishop Mills, Ont., Quebec City, Que., Quispamsis, N.B., Shubenacadie, N.S. and St. John’s, Nfld. Look for their stories in next issue of Canadian Wildlife magazine.
To learn more, visit RiverstoOceans.ca.