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These Tri-City teens care – about plastics and the environment

Teens meeting with province's environment minister next week to talk about plastic pollution
Teens and plastic
Roxanna Ferdowsi, Amanda Palmatary, Braidyn Chang and Rasee Kachchakaduge are members of an environmental super-team, an offshoot of School District 43’s Real Acts of Caring program. They want single-use plastics banned and are meeting with B.C.’s minister of environment Feb. 12 to talk about the issue.

Some Tri-City students are joining the call for a ban on single-use plastics and they are making their concerns known during Real Acts of Caring week, Feb. 9 to 15.

More than two dozen students from School District 43 secondary schools are working on a plan to get more people to care about the plastics they dump in the garbage.

“We want it to be more of an emergency,” said Dr. Charles Best student Amanda Palmatary. "Banning plastics seems to be delayed.”

As Tri-City schools practise acts of caring and kindness next week, these students will be bringing their message to B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman.

Palmatary said she and her group will be asking the minister to ban plastics more quickly, instead of waiting for the federal government, which says some sort of ban will be in place by 2021.

The province, meanwhile, is also considering a plastic ban.

Single-use plastics are a major polluter, the Canadian government's scientific assessment states. - Greenpeace/Twitter

But the students say action isn't coming fast enough.

“We want more immediate action,” she said.

The students are concerned about islands of plastic debris that are forming in the ocean; negative effects on animals, especially those that mistake plastic for food or become entangled; problems with toxic chemicals leaching from decomposing plastic; and the release of methane gas and other powerful greenhouse gases from plastic into the atmosphere.

Students would like to see single-use plastic bags and straws banned, among other things, and are taking steps themselves to be more environmentally friendly by using reusable containers, straws and shopping bags, Palmatary told The Tri-City News..

Their call comes as the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change released a scientific assessment of plastic pollution and its effects on the environment. The report notes that plastic pollution is a key environmental issue that has impacts on the environment, human health and the economy.

“Plastic ends up in our landfills; litters our parks and beaches; and pollutes our rivers, lakes, and oceans. Small particles of plastic are also pervasive in our environment, and people and wildlife are exposed through air, water, and food. To protect human health, safeguard the environment, and grow the economy, we must take action to reduce plastic pollution,” the report states.