On the cusp of Earth Day, the Pallister government has quietly shut down Green Manitoba Eco Solutions, an agency that worked with communities to deliver programs and information to help preserve and protect the environment and keep waste out of landfills.
“The Pallister government needs to be open about why it’s shutting down this agency,” said NDP Environment Critic Rob Altemeyer. “At a time when it’s more important than ever to preserve our environment, is this a sign the government no longer wants to invest in the future of our children?”
Green Manitoba is a special operating agency that was launched in 2006 under the former NDP government. It administered electronic and hazardous waste programs through partnerships with the private and non-profit sectors it promoted conservation and sustainable practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The services directed by Green Manitoba include:
- Oversight of all 12 of the Producer Responsibility Organizations (PRO) that reduce waste from landfill (blue boxes, waste oil, electronic waste, etc.); and
- The WRARS fund, which collects a per-tonne fee at all landfills for garbage disposal and then pays that money back to municipalities (also on a per-tonne basis) when they divert waste from the landfill (recycling, composting, etc.); and
- Ongoing contracts with groups such as Green Action Centre, Compost Winnipeg, and Sustainability Month to promote environmental sustainability and green programs.
Altemeyer noted that while some of these organizations were notified prior to the shuttering of Green Manitoba, many were not. As a result, many of the organizations now have no idea what the status of their current work or future work will be, Altemeyer said.
“The government has a duty to tell Manitobans what plans are in store for these organizations and whether the programs, contracts, services and reporting requirements that Green MB has been doing will continue,” Altemeyer said. “The government also has a responsibility to tell Manitobans what plans it has to create more green jobs and reduce the amount of waste going into landfills and to reduce greenhouse emissions.”
Earth Day will be celebrated Saturday, April 22, this year.