A lively discussion titled the Plastics Crisis Forum took place May 27, at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Antigonish.
Nicole Haverkort - regional waste co-ordinator/educator at Eastern Region Solid Waste Management, and Debbie Feltmate - business manager, Small Craft Harbours, Gulf Nova Scotia, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, were the guest speakers for the evening time event. After each speaker did a presentation, there was a question and answer session with the audience.
“This has been excellent; the questions were amazing,” Haverkort said, speaking to the Casket at the conclusion.
“There is a lot of interest, so it was nice to see people that engaged in reducing and recycling to help our environment.”
Feltmate said events like these are important because “education is the best way to create change.”
“That is what we’ve found with our harbour authorities; once they went in with Clean Nova Scotia and did the Ship-to-Shore program, which educated the fishermen and harbour authorities on what to bring back and the best way to dispose, with help from Nicole as well, it made a huge change,” Feltmate said. “That’s why the gulf harbour authorities are doing so much better.”
Asked about her key message going into the presentation, Feltmate talked about clean oceans start with clean land.
“To help clean-up our oceans, we need to start cleaning up the land as well, because so much of the land-based garbage ends up in the ocean. So if we start cleaning up the land, we’ll improve the ocean,” she said, noting World Oceans Day, which is coming up this Saturday (June 8), is a great time to get that message out and, sometimes, see it in action as groups organize beach clean-ups.
Haverkort said her main message started with reducing first.
“My message was to reduce first, reuse and then when you have something to recycle, make sure that you put it in the right place … and that it’s clean and dry,” she said.
“That’s our goal; that it gets to market because, ultimately, that’s our goal; whenever you put it in the blue bag that it gets to market so it can be made into another valuable product.”
As a good example of reduction, Haverkort reminded the audience about bringing in their reusable bags when shopping and turning down a bag when an item can be just as easily carried out as is.
For people looking for additional information from Feltmate’s presentation, she suggested checking out the Government of Canada’s website, linking into the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, while Haverkort said she can be contacted directly or go to the Eastern Region Solid Waste Management website (erswm.ca) or Facebook page.
Haverkort noted, in particular, helpful links the Collection Calendar and Waste Wizard, which folks can download to be reminded up pick-up times, which week it is as far as waste and additional information.