Banning Single-Use Plastic Bags in the Comox Valley

Update as of January 20, 2020: The ban on single-use plastic bags is currently on hold. We await provincial and federal legislation on the issue.

Over the past few decades, humans have dumped tons upon tons of plastic waste into the ocean which will take thousands of years to decay. As a result, fish and wildlife are becoming contaminated with toxins from microplastics that have entered our food chain, threatening human health. They are an ecological danger because, like other forms of plastic, they degrade into microplastics and further leach into soils, groundwater, and the ocean. We can take steps now to reduce toxicity in our water and human systems by banning single-use plastic bags. With the assistance of 3rd year nursing students from North Island College we made formal presentations to the three municipal councils, the Comox Valley Regional District and K'ómoks First Nation in our area requesting single-use plastic bags be banned across the Comox Valley. All three councils have developed or are in the process of developing by-laws to ban single-use plastic bags and single-use straws with one coming into effect July 1, 2019. The regional district is supportive but does not have the ability to pass a by-law so are encouraging businesses in their area to also stop offering single-use plastic bags. The Chair of the regional district board has written to the provincial government asking for a provincial ban on single-use plastic bags as a result of our advocacy. The K’ómoks First Nation has also given their support. All of the by-laws to date allow for banning single-use plastic bags as a first step and we are hopeful other forms of plastic packaging will follow. Our presentations and advocacy have also raised the discussion in the community about plastics in our oceans and raised awareness.

On July 11th 2019, The Canadian Plastic Ban association filed a challenge to the ban on single-use plastic bags in the City of Victoria stating that this is not within the jurisdiction of the municipalities to establish this bylaw and therefore we must await a decision from the Provincial government to intervene.

Read more on the Comox Valley Record: Opinions Vary About Single Use Plastics (August 23, 2019)

Read more on CBC: Victoria's plastic bag ban quashed by B.C. court (July 11, 2019)