The province is investing $9.5 million into clearing B.C.’s coastal areas of marine debris and derelict vessels. (NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Project/contributed photo.)

The province is investing $9.5 million into clearing B.C.’s coastal areas of marine debris and derelict vessels. (NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Project/contributed photo.)

Cleanup program targets B.C. marine debris and derelict vessels

Province offering $9.5 million to projects that improve the coastline

The provincial government is offering more than $9.5 million to projects clearing B.C.’s coastal areas of marine debris and derelict vessels.

The timing of the funds is aimed at creating jobs and supporting coastal communities through their economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are all becoming increasingly aware of just how serious the problem is and how urgently we must act. This funding will make a huge difference to coastal communities and the marine environment that sustains them,” Kelly Green, newly appointed parliamentary secretary for the environment said in a statement.

READ MORE: Plastic pollution greatest concern for migrating salmon

The application process will open on Jan. 4, 2021. Eligible applicants include coastal Indigenous Nations and local governments, as well as non-profits and other groups in B.C. that have expertise in shoreline and marine debris clean up or removal of derelict vessels. All projects must be initiated by March 31, 2021, and completed by Dec. 31, 2021.

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman said the program is in response to public calls to address the blight of abandoned vessels, mooring buoys, polystyreme foam, aquaculture debris and single-use plastics.

“Marine cleanup programs are a critical part of reducing pollution in these sensitive ecosystems and protecting fish and other marine life, as well as important food sources,” Heyman said. “These projects will remove tonnes of debris, create new jobs and provide much-needed support to local governments, Indigenous communities and other groups to address marine pollution.”

The money will be channeled through the Clean Coast, Clean Waters Initiative Fund, part of the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan to address plastic pollution.

For more information on the fund and application process visit bccleancoast.ca.

READ MORE: Fed offers $2.3 million for plastics-based scientific research



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

Environment

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