April 19, I had an opportunity to speak about Earth Day in response to a Ministerial statement. My comments, from Hansard, are below:
Mr. Gerrard: Madam Speaker, today more than one million people will take part in the largest day of action in the world. This year's theme we focus on a worldwide epidemic of plastic waste. Plastic water bottles and shopping bags continue to be used widely and discarded in spite of the knowledge that they do not degrade in landfills.
Vast numbers wash up on beaches all over the world. They slowly break down over time into smaller particles, many of which can be carcinogenic, causing life-threatening cancers, or affect human hormones, causing early puberty as well as having effects on waterfowl, fish and our ecosphere.
Several times in the past decade Liberals have called for the elimination in Manitoba of single-use plastic checkout bags and we also call for a drastic reduction in water bottle use. The goal is to reduce our dependence on polluting plastic bags and polyethylene water bottles, and yet they are still widely used.
We see more and more evidence of major problems with plastic and the environment. One million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and that number is expected to jump by 200,000 more by 2021. That's 1,200,000 water bottles per minute every day worldwide, creating an environmental crisis some predict could be as serious as climate change.
Earth Day is a delay of political action and civic participation. Let us act today to stop using single‑use plastic bags and dramatically reduce our use of plastic water bottles. Save our planet. It is our home.