Oceana Canada Calls on Canadians to go to Great Lengths for Plastic-Free Oceans

TORONTO, Sept. 04, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Oceana Canada, part of the largest international advocacy group dedicated solely to ocean conservation, today launched Great Lengths: Swim for Plastic-Free Oceans, a peer-to-peer swim challenge fundraiser to support the charity’s campaign to stop the flow of single-use plastics that are harming oceans and marine life.

An estimated eight million tonnes of plastic leaks into the marine environment from land-based sources every year—roughly equivalent to dumping a garbage truck full of plastic into the oceans every minute. As plastic continues to flood into our oceans, the list of marine species who ingest or get entangled in plastic debris expands, impacting everything from zooplankton and fish to sea turtles, marine mammals and seabirds.

“The oceans face a massive and growing threat from plastic pollution, and we cannot recycle our way out of this crisis. More plastic was manufactured globally in the previous decade than in the whole of the last century, and a meagre nine per cent of all the plastic waste ever generated has been recycled,” says Josh Laughren, executive director of Oceana Canada. “We must address the problem at its source by reducing the amount of single-use plastic produced. We need ambitious leadership and action from governments and companies, backed by a growing movement of ocean advocates.”

With Great Lengths: Swim for Plastic-Free Oceans, swimmers of all ages and skill levels across Canada can join the fight to stop plastic from entering our oceans. Participants can choose their swim challenge distance and fundraising goal, and all funds raised will support Oceana Canada’s work to help Canada transition away from single-use plastics.

Specifically, Oceana Canada is advocating for:

  • Governments to enact smart legislation and regulations that phase out single-use plastics and ensure they don’t end up in our oceans;
  • Companies to adopt alternatives to single-use plastics – from multinational corporations to local restaurants; and
  • Consumers to hold governments and companies accountable to recognize, own and act on the threat plastic pollution poses to our oceans.

“We need to address this growing crisis by reducing single-use plastic, and championing solutions to ensure that our oceans are plastic-free,” says Laughren. “Participating in or donating to Great Lengths: Swim for Plastic-Free Oceans will directly support our work to end single-use plastics, which will get us one step closer to a future with oceans full of fish and wildlife, not plastic.”

For more information about Great Lengths: Swim for Plastic-Free Oceans and to sign up go to oceana.ca/GreatLengths.

For more information, please contact:
Kathleen Munro at kathleen.munro@pilotpmr.com or 902.789.3165

Quick facts about ocean plastics

  • Approximately 80 per cent of plastic that ends up in the ocean comes from land-based sources.
  • Every year, more than 1.3 million kilograms of plastic enters Lake Ontario alone; enough to fill 28 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Plastics in the Great Lakes and surrounding watershed can flow into the St. Lawrence River and, ultimately, the North Atlantic Ocean.
  • A meager nine per cent of plastic ever produced has been recycled.
  • In Canada, more than one third of our plastics are created for single-use products or packaging.
  • According to the Canadian government, Canadians use almost 15 billion plastic bags every year and close to 57 million straws every day.

About Oceana Canada
Oceana Canada was established as an independent charity in 2015 and is part of the largest international advocacy group dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana Canada has successfully campaigned to end the shark fin trade, make rebuilding depleted fish populations the law, improve the way fisheries are managed and protect marine habitat. We work with civil society, academics, fishers, Indigenous Peoples and the federal government to return Canada’s formerly vibrant oceans to health and abundance. By restoring Canada’s oceans, we can strengthen our communities, reap greater economic and nutritional benefits and protect our future.

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at







Swimmer Plastic beach Seabirds and plastic Dead seabird Clean beach Great Lengths: Swim for Plastic-Free Oceans