Volunteers made a “Plastic Goddess” from some of the debris during one of ocean clean-ups held on Denman Island. file photo/Gerry Ambury

Volunteers made a “Plastic Goddess” from some of the debris during one of ocean clean-ups held on Denman Island. file photo/Gerry Ambury

Comox-Strathcona wants depot for ocean plastic

Ocean Legacy Foundation is applying to province for grant

Comox Strathcona Waste Management is looking at adding a depot for the collection and recycling of ocean plastic.

Following a presentation at its April 22 meeting, the CSWM board, composed Comox Valley and Strathcona regional district representatives, passed a motion to establish an Ocean Legacy Foundation (OLF) ocean plastics depot at the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre.

Services coordinator Stephanie Valdal started by wishing the board members a happy Earth Day before providing an overview of the program. OLF is a Canadian non-profit organization that works to end ocean plastic waste. It already has depots in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District and qathet Regional District and is applying for funding from the province to establish an ocean plastics depot for the CSWM service area.

Through the program, Valdal explained, volunteers collect and sort the material. In the CSWM area, the estimate is that 160 tonnes of marine debris could be recovered annually. There would be no capital cost, and the annual operating cost to CSWM for the loading of the material is $2,800 while transportation is projected at between $9,000 and $24,000. If the depot proceeds, it will likely start sometime in 2022.

In general, board members supported the idea of collecting and removing the ocean plastic, especially if it can be reused.

Charlie Cornfield, one of the Campbell River SRD directors, said they have been following the issue for a number of years, and he is concerned about singling out fish farms as the cause of the ocean plastic, adding commercial fisheries and sport fisheries also contribute to the plastic left in the ocean. However, he supported the premise of the program.

“I’m glad to see it slated to come here,” he said.

He also asked about outreach efforts to industry.

“Here in the Comox Valley, we have really seen the industry step up,” said Valdal, who added it has been working with the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) on issues around clean-up of so-called “ghost gear.”

RELATED STORY: DFO defends ocean ‘ghost gear’ clean-up grants

Some board members were optimistic about industry efforts to respond to the challenge of plastic waste.

“I think the industry has really taken to heart trying to improve,” said Daniel Arbour, a CVRD director.

He also spoke about new initiatives coming from DFO, specifically labelling of the plastic trays used in aquaculture to identify the owners, should the equipment end up loose in the ocean.

Martin Davis, the Tahsis representative to the SRD, was pleased with the prospects of the program.

“I think the organization’s work is wonderful,” he said.

He was curious about the sources of the waste, saying from his experiences in his region he has found much waste coming from plastic bottles, possibly from Southeast Asia based on their labelling.

Valdal responded that while aquaculture waste contributes much of the plastic waste in ocean communities on the east side of Vancouver Island, on the west side items like bottles are a bigger issue.

“The material does differ depending on the region,” she said.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Plastic waste

Just Posted

Kaleb Robertson at bat during the 18UAAA North Island Cubs season opener against the Cowichan Valley Mustangs on June 19, 2021. Photo by Sean Feagan / Black Press Media.
PHOTOS: Minor baseball players and fans welcome return to play

18UAAA Cubs start regular season action after long wait with convincing win against Mustangs

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

New literacy framework will allow teachers to assess whether students have the necessary skills to become strong readers, and intervene early if they need help. Photo by Marissa Tiel/Campbell River Mirror
Campbell River school board creating new literacy framework

New plan aims to reverse declining literacy in SD72

Duncan Hurd says his fence has been smashed multiple times in the past month. Photo courtesy Duncan Hurd
Vandalism escalating in Campbell River neighbourhood, resident says

Neighbours want to see vandals ‘identified’

Kandi Kehler has just over two weeks left in her rental, but doesn’t know where she is going to go next. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror
12 days left: Campbell River family at end of lease with nowhere else to go

Biggest fear coming to life for Campbell River mom

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Most Read