Saving The Coasts of British Columbia, One Piece of Plastic At A Time

Written by Bakshi, Himmat

Calvin Sandborn, the Legal Director of the Environmental Law Centre (ELC) Society, is an Assistant Teaching Professor at the University of Victoria and has practiced environmental law for over 25 years, focusing on environmental litigation as well as successfully lobbying for environmental reform. 

As a strong advocate for environmental law reform, the ELC is a non-profit society that works with conservation organizations, community groups, and First Nations across British Columbia to tackle the complex environmental challenges we face today. Through providing vigorous representation to clients before tribunals and courts, and actively engaging in public legal education and outreach, it plays a crucial role in the fight against marine plastic pollution. 

Since it was founded in 1996, the ELC Society has been dedicated to providing pro bono legal services thanks to the vision of many students, faculty, community members, and foundations. It became both a credit course (the Clinic) as well as an incorporated society. For years, the ELC ran solely on the drive of student volunteers coupled with a diverse, experienced Board of Directors, and they show no signs of slowing down. 

Their dedication to reducing plastic pollution not only made Ottawa commit to promoting an international Zero Plastics Waste Charter but their initiatives were also recognized by the federal government. In this, Sandborn plays a crucial role as his efforts call for a resolution accepted across the world to establish strategies in the fight against marine plastic pollution. 

Sandborn presented the ELC’s work at the University of Oregon. He also testified about plastics before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. These actions resulted in the federal government’s decision to hold companies responsible and implement a ban on harmful single-use plastics only a month later. 

Sandborn was named an Honorary Citizen of the City of Victoria in 2011, and received the Victoria Bar Association’s ‘Contribution to the Law’ Award in 2016. The story of his work – the impacts on health, water quality, well-being, justice – are heard around the world. The significance of his work goes beyond convenience. He is a leader not only in his field, but in raising awareness regarding the detrimental impacts of marine plastics pollution.

Incidentally, his efforts contribute to the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development in a multitude of ways. To understand just how much of a positive impact he has on the fight against plastic pollution, we can highlight some of his most noteworthy contributions.

To see more, please visit https://www.uvic.ca/law/facultystaff/facultydirectory/sandborn.php 

Mr. Sandborn is the epitome of another inspiring story that fosters sustainable development by paving the way for generations to come. 

Sustainable Development Goals

This action agrees with Sustainable Development Goals defined by UN.

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01. no poverty01. no poverty
02. zero hunger02. zero hunger
03. good health & well being03. good health & well being
04. quality education04. quality education
05. gender equality05. gender equality
06. clean water & sanitation06. clean water & sanitation
07. affordable & clean energy07. affordable & clean energy
08. decent work & economic growth08. decent work & economic growth
09. industry, innovation & infrastructure09. industry, innovation & infrastructure
10. reduced inequalities10. reduced inequalities
11. sustainable cities & communities11. sustainable cities & communities
12. responsible consumption & production12. responsible consumption & production
13. climate action13. climate action
14. life below water14. life below water
15. life on land15. life on land
16. peace, justice & strong institutions16. peace, justice & strong institutions
17. partnerships for the goals17. partnerships for the goals
Sustainable Development GoalsSustainable Development Goals
03. good health & well being
  • 03.9

    Work towards substantially reducing the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination. 

06. clean water & sanitation
  • 06.1

    Help achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030.

  • 06.3

    Improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials.

  • 06.6

    Protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes.

12. responsible consumption & production
  • 12.2

    Achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.

  • 12.4

    Achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment. 

  • 12.5

    Substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse. 

  • 12.6

    Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.

  • 12.7

    Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities. 

  • 12.8

    Ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature. 

13. climate action
  • 13.2

    Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.

14. life below water
  • 14.1

    Prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution. 

  • 14.2

    Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law. 

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