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qathet Regional District director proposes motion related to banning polystyrene

Regional board to consider prohibition of using of Styrofoam in marine environment
POLYSTYRENE PROBLEM: qathet Regional District Electoral Area E director Andrew Fall recently proposed a motion requesting that provincial and federal governments prohibit the use of EPS in marine environments.

A motion for prohibiting the use of expanded polystyrene in the marine environment will be considered by the qathet Regional District (qRD) board.

At the December 9 committee of the whole meeting, Electoral Area E director Andrew Fall proposed the motion that the board send regarding expanded polystyrene to the 2022 Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) convention.

The motion read: whereas expanded polystyrene (EPS), commonly known as Styrofoam, in the marine environment can cause significant harm to marine life, seafood resources and ecosystems; And whereas EPS is difficult to impossible to clean up from shorelines after it breaks down into small pieces; And whereas EPS has a high likelihood of entering the marine environment from damaged marine infrastructure, whether encased or not; Therefore, be it resolved that AVICC and the Union of BC Municipalities request the provincial and federal governments to prohibit the use of EPS in the marine environment.

Fall said when he thought about his experiences cleaning Styrofoam off beaches, when a pocket of Styrofoam is found broken down into tiny bits, called nurdles, and it’s sometimes two or three feet deep, it’s soft and floating around. Fall said it is difficult to collect and remove from beaches.

“You can’t get it out without taking the beach away,” said Fall. “It’s really just going to decompose and continue to cause harm for thousands of years. The only way to not have it is to not let it get in the marine environment in the first place.”

Fall said there has been some regulation to increase the use of casings and that seems better on the surface, but it’s actually not any better because the casings can break apart in storms.

“I really hope the board can support this,” said Fall. “We need to take a strong stand. We know the province and the federal government may or may not take action, but I think they need to hear about this.”

Let’s Talk Trash team member Abby McLennan said in November, three docks full of Styrofoam, one on Texada Island and two on Savary Island, were damaged.

“It would be nice to try to put a strong voice forward on turning off the tap on this material,” said McLennan.

The committee voted unanimously to forward the resolution to the regional board for approval.