Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to use his country's presidency of the G7 economic bloc this year to highlight plastic pollution in oceans, with one of his top aides suggesting Canada could push for some type of "plastics charter."
Trudeau hosted a forum on ocean protection Jan. 24 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he said Canada intended to raise some new issues on the G7 agenda, "particularly around plastics and pollution," according to the Canadian Press news agency.
Canada's Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna also told the press service in a separate interview that could include creating a "plastics charter or zero waste goal."
It's not clear what specific actions the G7 could take, but it is a sign that plastics and marine pollution will remain a focus of various high-level government meetings.
A spokesperson for McKenna declined to elaborate on Canada's plans for having the G7 focus on plastics.
McKenna was quoted saying that plastics will be a theme of a G7 leaders' summit in Quebec in June, and a follow-up G7 environment ministers' meeting later in the year.
Canada's plan appeared to get an endorsement from Unilever CEO Paul Polman on Twitter.
Polman retweeted an article with the headline "Canada pushing G7 nations to sign no plastics pledge to save world's oceans" and added that he thanked Trudeau and McKenna for "putting higher on G7 agenda ... honoured to help. Great discussion, now action by all."
The article quoted McKenna saying Canada would build on existing work by international organizations and multinational corporations.
"The health of the oceans is under threat," McKenna said.
Without providing specifics, a spokesperson for McKenna said in an email that ocean health would be a topic at the G7, which also includes France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
"In Canada, we are experiencing the reality of marine litter on all of our coasts, including in the Arctic. On shorelines around the world, the impacts of marine litter are striking," the statement said.
"Canada is committed to tackling these important issues, including through our G7 Presidency this year. Now is the time for action and everyone has a role to play."