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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sean Hart, 34, unexpectedly left the Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich on Nov. 6, 2020 and has now been missing for six months. (Photo courtesy Penny Hart)
Search continues for Saanich man Sean Hart six months after his disappearance

Support from community, police keeps his mother hopeful

Police stopped, then let go this man and his large collection of cans during a stop Monday morning on Resthaven Drive. Police had received a report of a possible theft, but let him go after he had returned the property, which he believed was his to take after being left out in public. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Report of theft, balancing act on Sidney street draws curious onlookers

Incident happened just before 8:30 a.m. opposite of Vancouver Island Regional Library branch

Daniel Foster, last seen in downtown Parksville on Saturday, May 1. (submitted photo)
RCMP seek help locating missing Victoria man, last spotted in Parksville

Daniel Foster, 43, seen via surveillance camera using an ATM

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

Victoria Police Department looks to identify a person of interest after a Friday night stabbing. (VicPD handout)
Police seek person of interest after Victoria stabbing

Friday night assault leaves one with potentially life-altering injuries

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

Most Read