Involve business in ocean plastics pollution issue, talks: McKenna

The federal environment minister says she wants business leaders involved when she and her counterparts from other G7 nations gather in Halifax this fall to discuss how to reduce the flow of plastic waste into the oceans.

Catherine McKenna, speaking at a news conference Tuesday in Halifax, said Canadians are throwing out up to $150 billion worth of plastic each year, much of which ends up in the water.

The minister says she wants to work with provinces, territories and municipalities to draft a national strategy aimed at combatting the plastics problem.

And she stressed that she wants to involve businesses that produce plastics.

McKenna said plastics producers should also be part of discussions in late September when she meets in Halifax with her counterparts from Italy, France, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Germany.

The United States and Japan didn't sign the so-called Oceans Plastics Charter tabled at the recent G7 meeting in Charlevoix, Que.

The G7 document calls on signatory nations to discuss ways to reduce plastics going into the ocean, with the Canadian government estimating more than 150 million tonnes of the discarded material is clogging the oceans worldwide.

There are estimates in some scholarly journals that the volume of plastic in the ocean could outweigh fish by 2050.