Ocean Legacy Foundation members conduct a shoreline pollution cleanup in Vancouver. (OLP)

Ocean Legacy Foundation members conduct a shoreline pollution cleanup in Vancouver. (OLP)

It’s time to end ‘suffocating’ plastic pollution along B.C. shorelines, advocates urge

This Earth Day, Ocean Legacy Foundation is launching a free educational platform to educate the public about plastic pollution

Vancouver resident Chloé Dubois, co-founder of Ocean Legacy Foundation, is calling upon British Columbians who want to help save the ocean and its inhabitants this Earth Day.

She’s created a free online curriculum from eight years’ worth of fieldwork removing industrial and everyday waste pollution from the province’s shoreline.

“We’re at a precipice right now – in our province, we are producing more plastic than we can capture. If business continues as usual, our oceans will be polluted to the point of non-repair.”

“We have the ability to change the course of our oceans, so they can be able to continue to support life,” Dubois said.

Ocean Legacy Foundation’s launch of E.P.I.C. Academy will instruct people of all ages on plastic pollution and how it can be prevented or reduced.

It’s a plastic pollution emergency response program that incorporates a four-pillar hands-on approach: education, policy, infrastructure and cleanup.

The online course will educate learners on the oil and shale production, or the plastics industry – which is looking to double within the next decade.

“What that’s going to do is produce more plastic waste than we have the infrastructure to capture and process,” Dubois said.

“Without intervention, global ocean plastics are expected to double by 2035. If practices remain unchanged there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean (by weight) by 2050.”

READ MORE: The race is on in B.C. to ban single-use plastics

The 10-lesson platform has been more than a year in the making, by OLF, which has removed approximately 85,000 kilograms of plastic from 146 kilometers of shoreline.

E.P.I.C. outlines how plastic pollution damages marine habitats and “suffocates and entangles” wildlife including seals and birds.

OLP is advocating for companies to redesign products or the government to create the infrastructure that can recirculate single-use plastics back into use.

On the east coast of Vancouver Island, Dubois said cleanup teams have witnessed 80 per cent of shoreline pollution caused by styrofoam breaking down and debris spreading.

“We’ve also noticed a lot of industrial waste, including oyster baskets and netting,” she said.

On the west coast, Dubois said it’s been a majority of international industry waste from Russia, China, and Japan transported by ocean currents.

“We live in such a beautiful pristine environment,” she said, but once the plastics do get into the environment they damage and alter the habitat.

“If you want to do something about it, we’ve created E.P.I.C. as a tool.”

The curriculum is available in French, Spanish, and English. Each of the lessons takes 90 minutes to complete.



sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Climate crisisEnvironment

Just Posted

File photo
Paramedic training returning to Castlegar

Emergency Medical Responder and Primary Care Paramedic training to take place in Castlegar

Emerson Potter, a Grade 3 student at Blewett Elementary, advocated for changes to help him use his wheelchair on the school grounds. He’s seen here with his parents Lindsay Thompson and Keith Potter, and Blewett principal Tim Mushumanski (right). Photo: Tyler Harper
‘Pretty awesome’: Nelson-area student advocates for school to improve outdoor accessibility

Emerson Potter, who lives with cerebral palsy, had trouble moving around Blewett Elementary’s grounds

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

People will be strapping on the inline skates in Castlegar this summer. Photo: Jennifer Small
Castlegar Skating Club offers new summer inline program

New program will let ice skaters continue their training through the summer

Portions of the Skattebo Reach Trail are being improved. Photo: Betsy Kline
Skattebo Reach Trail near Castlegar to become cycle friendly

Trail improvements geared towards cyclists being done in 2021

From the left: Laura Greaves, Kyle Whyte and Steve Bigelow rescued a poisoned eagle Sunday, May 9. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
West Kootenay residents, Conservation Service Officer save poisoned eagle

CSO Kyle Bueckert released the eagle into the wild Thursday, May 13

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Superintendent Aaron Paradis, community services officer with the Surrey RCMP, during a media availability about a recent drug bust in Port Coquitlam. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Police seize 13 million ‘potentially fatal doses’ of pure fentanyl at B.C. drug lab

The evidence was seized at large, illicit drug manufacturing site in Port Coquitlam

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth debates the province’s latest measure to control crime, March 10, 2021. The legislation allows police to impound vehicles used to transport weapons and further restricts sale of vehicle and body armour. (B.C. legislature video)
B.C. seeking ways to ‘name and shame’ gangsters, minister says

Mike Farnworth appeals to family members to talk to police

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Jonathan Prest had to climb way up to the top of a dead red cedar tree to rescue a terrified cat, but he made it up and down successfully. (Facebook photos)
Tree cutter rescues cat stuck 100 feet up a dead and dried-out cedar

Jonathan Prest put himself in extreme peril to get a terrified cat out of a dangerous situation

The Greater Victoria School District continues to face backlash over its wording and approach to Indigenous learners in its 2021-2022 budget talks. (Black Press Media file photo)
School district’s approach to Indigenous learners leaves Victoria teachers ‘disgusted’

Backlash grows over ‘pattern of colonial thinking permeating the leadership’

Italian-Canadian prisoners at the Kananaskis prisoner of war camp in Alberta. (University of Calgary/Contributed)
Italian moved to Okanagan with hope; he ended up being sent to a WWII internment camp

Raymond Lenzi shares his grandfather’s story ahead of Canada’s planned formal apology to Italian-Canadians

A new coalition has formed to call upon the government to make fundamental legislative changes to prioritize protecting fish, wildlife and their habitats. Doug Turner photo.
Wildsight joins coalition calling on government to prioritize wildlife and habitat protection

The Fish, Wildlife and Habitat Coalition is comprised of more than 20 groups

Most Read