CANADA – The Canadian government has unveiled plans to impose a ban on single-use plastic items such as bags, straws, cutlery in an effort to tackle the challenges brought about by environmental pollution.

According to CBC report, the items to be banned may also include cotton swabs, drink stirrers, plates, balloon sticks, as well as fast food containers and cups made of expanded polystyrene.

According to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the government is yet to define the ban, which is to follow the model chosen by the European Union.

“We need to cover all of Canada with this decision and that’s why the federal government is moving forward on a science-based approach to establishing which harmful single-use plastics we will be eliminating as of 2021,” said Trudeau.

The plastic strategy may include plans to make companies that manufacture or sell plastic products to take responsibility for recycling their plastic waste.

Protecting world oceans

Earlier this year, the EU parliament voted to ban single-use plastics cutlery, cotton buds, straws and stirrers to protect the oceans and beaches from plastic pollution.

The ban set to come into force by 2021 in all EU member states, is one of the measures taken by the UK government to achieve 25% recycled content in plastic bottles by 2025.

The model also includes a kind of packaging that warn consumers of environmental damage they do by disposing of these items incorrectly.

Trudeau said his government is looking at a similar model to that of the EU, which has outlined measures that would affect a range of plastic products for which reasonable alternatives exist, from straws to earbuds, starting in 2021.

“To be honest, as a dad, it’s tough trying to explain this to my kids.

“How do you explain dead whales washing up on beaches around the world, their stomachs jam-packed with plastic bags?” Trudeau said.

“As parents, we’re at a point when we take our kids to the beach and we have to search out a patch of sand that isn’t littered with straws, Styrofoam or bottles. “That’s a problem, one that we have to do something about.”

Statistics show that in Canada, less than 10% of plastics used get recycled, resulting to death or injury of 1 million birds and over 100,000 sea mammals worldwide usually mistaking plastic for food or become entangled.

While the impact of the ban on Canada’s economy is not yet known, the EU estimated the changes would cost the bloc’s economy US$291m to US$781m.