Green Boating

Marine waste disposal

Many thanks to the hundreds of people who signed this letter or made a similar submission to the federal Minister of Transport.  

Fall 2007

To: Hon. Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Ottawa
CC:: Hon. Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Ottawa
Hon John Baird, Minister of Environment, Ottawa
Hon Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, Ottawa
Hon Barry Penner, Minister of Environment, Victoria


I understand new regulations under the Canada Shipping Act (Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution from Vessels and for Dangerous Chemicals) have come into force this year making it illegal in many circumstances for boats and ships to dump raw sewage within 3 nautical miles of the Canadian shoreline. This is a positive step toward protecting our most sensitive marine areas. However I also understand a significant section in the regulations allows for raw sewage discharge where the distance between land is less than six miles unless there is a sewage pump-out service. This area of discharge will include unique areas like the Gulf Islands and Desolation Sound, and have a negative impact on shellfish and other fisheries, as well as sensitive marine ecosystems. The solution is the timely placement of pump-out facilities, which will prevent further degradation of our precious coastal waters.

Canada’s marine sewage disposal options are woefully inadequate. In fact, the Strait of Georgia has less than 40 facilities available for many of the approximately 350,000 vessels that use this coast and will need this service. Currently there is no agency plan to supply more sewage pump-out services. Vessel owners and operators want to do their part to ensure the full intent of the regulation is upheld (i.e. protection of the marine environment), however, with pump-out services not available in many regions, boaters have no choice but to dump raw sewage in or near sensitive areas.

Georgia Strait Alliance and the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation are calling upon the federal and provincial governments to make a commitment to plan, fund and enforce comprehensive marine waste disposal. I request that you immediately make this a government priority, to help ensure the preservation and restoration of our most valued national treasure.


(signed by more than 400 individuals)


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