Concerns over single-use waste have been growing over the last few years. An Environment Canada report has found that there is a definite issue with plastic pollution in the country. More research is needed, but a major problem has been identified.

According to the report, microplastics are one of the worst problems in Canada. Studies found the presence of the contaminant in a number of different animal species.

The report also confirms that humans are exposed to these particles in air, water, and food.

The authors of the report write that they wish to continue studying the presence of these tiny particles in Canadian wildlife to better understand how pervasive the problem is.

"Science confirms that plastic pollution is everywhere and is negatively impacting our environment," Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change said in a statement.

"This assessment will inform our decisions as our government follows through on our commitment to ban harmful single-use plastics as soon as 2021 because Canadians expect us to," he said.

Altogether, over 3 million tonnes of the material are thrown away in Canada every single year. Only about nine percent of that is recycled. The rest ends up in landfills.

It was estimated that in 2016, one percent of all discarded plastic wound up in the environment. That's about 29,000 tonnes.

Steps are already being taken to reduce the amount of plastic circulating in Canada. Sobeys is set to get rid of all their disposable bags starting on January 31. 

While the environmental report presents a cursory inspection of how bad the problem has become, they say more research is needed.

Scientists have been asked to apply for up to $200,000 on funding for projects that will look into human health and ecotoxicology effects of plastic in the environment.

Finding ways to mitigate the use and creation of these kinds of products could not only reduce 1.8 trillion tonnes of carbon pollution, but it could also create around 42,000 jobs.

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