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  6. Bold exhibit about ocean plastic waste opens for two weeks

Bold exhibit about ocean plastic waste opens for two weeks

© Canadian Museum of Nature

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Ottawa, July 30, 2018 – Approximately 850 shipping containers' worth of waste per day ends up in our seas and oceans. Now a bold exhibit about plastic pollution in the oceans—presented in four sea containers—is opening in front of the Canadian Museum of Nature, looking at how science can combat plastic waste in our waters.

The unique Ocean Plastics Lab is from Europe and includes installations, animations and interactive content. It encourages the public to face up to the topic of plastic litter in the oceans, and to learn about how science is tackling the associated challenges. Visitors will also learn about citizen-science projects and be encouraged to participate in a dialogue between science and society. Admission to the Ocean Plastics Lab is free.

“The Canadian Museum of Nature is pleased to host this innovative travelling experience about plastic waste, and how international collaborations are protecting biodiversity in our oceans,” says Meg Beckel, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature. “As a science-based institution, with a focus on the natural world, we welcome the opportunity to share with Canadians how they can take action to use less plastic in their lives.”

The Ocean Plastics Lab opened in Turin in 2017, and has since toured to Paris, Brussels, and Washington, D.C. It was developed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, together with the German Marine Research Consortium and the European Commission, with contributions from over 60 scientific groups, NGOs and companies from over 15 countries.

“This exhibition is an invitation to all visitors to consider the questions raised by plastic waste in our oceans, and to develop approaches to solving these challenges.” says Dr. Julia Schnetzer, OPL Campaign Manager with the German Marine Research Consortium.

The Ocean Plastics Lab has been brought to Canada and the museum by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

“Plastic products are polluting our oceans and waterways not only in Canada, but around the world. That’s why it’s so important to bring exhibits like the Ocean Plastics Lab to Canada to educate and inspire, and to help push us towards a future where plastics stay in our economy and out of our oceans. We are proud to support the Ocean Plastics Lab and we encourage you to visit in Ottawa, its only Canadian stop.” 
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Our government takes the threat of plastic pollution to our marine life very seriously. Everyone has a role to play in keeping plastics out of our oceans. This exhibit is a great opportunity for Canadians to learn more about this global issue by visiting the Ocean Plastics Lab, which we are proud to welcome to the National Capital.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

With the arrival of the Oceans Plastics Lab at the Canadian Museum of Nature, the museum also announces that it has removed plastic straws from its NatureCafé, in line with the actions of many other establishments. Visitors can receive compostable paper straws on request.

About Ocean Plastics:

Plastics are almost everywhere in our lives, being used on a regular basis --- as packaging, bottles, toys or furniture. And yet everyday litter on our beaches and in our seas are a sad reality, whether plastic bottles in the sand, coffee cups encrusted with seaweed, or plastic bags floating above schools of fish: But what we actually see is just a fraction of the huge quantities of plastic – around 850 shipping containers' worth of waste per day – which are ending up in our seas and oceans. Most of this plastic litter is invisible to the naked eye. Larger pieces of plastic are broken down into tiny fragments by UV radiation and wave action. This microplastic is transported even to remote regions – a devastating development because it takes hundreds of years for some plastic materials to fully degrade.

For more information about the Ocean Plastics Lab, visit oceanplasticslab.net.

About the Canadian Museum of Nature:

The Canadian Museum of Nature is Canada's national museum of natural history and natural sciences. The museum provides evidence-based insights, inspiring experiences and meaningful engagement with nature's past, present and future. It achieves this through scientific research, a 14.6 million specimen collection, education programs, signature and travelling exhibitions, and a dynamic web site, nature.ca.

NOTE TO MEDIA: Media are invited to a media event and VIP opening at 10 a.m., Tuesday, July 31 at the Canadian Museum of Nature, 240 McLeod Street.

Otherwise, interviews with Dr. Julia Schnetzer and other spokespeople can be arranged upon request.

Information for media:
Laura Sutin
Canadian Museum of Nature
613-698-7142 (cell)
lsutin@nature.ca

Kasia Majewski
Canadian Museum of Nature
613-618-0427 (cell)
kmajewski@nature.ca