Today, Ocean Wise applauds the Government of Canada for announcing its commitment to tackle plastic marine debris in the ocean by joining the United Nations CleanSeas campaign. Jonathan Wilkinson, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, made the announcement during the World Environmental Education Congress at the Vancouver Aquarium, an Ocean Wise initiative.

It’s a big step in the right direction, said Ocean Wise CEO and president, Dr. John Nightingale. “Plastic pollution is impacting our oceans at an alarming, and exponential, rate. It’s a problem we’ve been working on for more than two decades, through the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, and more recently, through our Ocean Pollution Research Program,” said Nightingale. “More effort is needed, and we’re proud to collaborate with the global UN CleanSeas program and the Government of Canada.”

At least 8 million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean each year. That’s like emptying a garbage truck into the ocean every minute. Photo credit: Clean Seas

With approximately 8 million tonnes of plastic ending up in the ocean every year, the CleanSeas campaign is working with governments, the private sector and the general public to phase out the production and consumption of single-use plastics and microbeads within the next five years.

This nationwide effort aligns with Ocean Wise’s deep commitment to raising consumer awareness about the increasing damage that plastic has on our oceans. Through groundbreaking microplastics research, and actionable solutions such as visitor education, marine mammal disentanglement and thousands of shoreline cleanups across Canada each year, Ocean Wise leads effective national initiatives to reduce the impact of plastic pollution on our oceans.

Canada will contribute to the CleanSeas campaign through steps that target pollution prevention, conducting research of the impact of micro plastics in the aquatic environment and biota, and funding community-based programs, including shorefront cleanups.

This nationwide effort aligns with Ocean Wise’s deep commitment to raising consumer awareness about the increasing damage that plastic has on our oceans.

Ocean Wise is a global ocean conservation organization focused on protecting and restoring our world’s oceans. Building on the roots of the Vancouver Aquarium, which started as a community-based not-for-profit organization, Ocean Wise aims to inspire people in every corner of the planet to participate in creating healthy oceans. The transformation is a natural evolution of Vancouver Aquarium’s 61 years of conservation research, education and engagement, extending its world-renowned leadership to Ocean Wise, and committing its positive impact to other parts of the world.

Up to 51 trillion miroplastic particles have accumulated in our oceans. Photo credit: Clean Seas

CleanSeas furthers a critically important message, one that is in line with Ocean Wise’s own mission,” said John Nightingale. “We look forward to working even more closely with the Government of Canada across the country and around the world as part of the global UN CleanSeas campaign.”

Ocean Wise is a not-for-profit organization whose vision is a world in which oceans are healthy and flourishing.

UN Environment launched the CleanSeas campaign in February 2017, with the aim of engaging governments, the general public, civil society and the private sector in the fight against marine plastic litter. Learn more at

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