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First plastic-free flight since widespread use of the material departs Lisbon

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Cillian O’Brien, CTVNews.ca Staff


Published Thursday, December 27, 2018 8:03AM EST


Last Updated Thursday, December 27, 2018 9:19AM EST

The first of four plastic-free flights departed Portugal on Boxing Day in a bid by an aircraft leasing company to banish the material from its planes by the end of 2019.

Hi Fly said the first trial trip left Lisbon, Portugal for Natal, Brazil, on Wednesday without a single-use plastic item on board.

Among the innovations presented to passengers were bamboo cutlery, new paper packaging and containers that can be easily composted.

Items replaced on the journey include cups, spoons, sick bags, dishes, butter pots, soft drink bottles and toothbrushes.

“This historic Hi Fly flight underlines our commitment to making Hi Fly the world’s first plastics-free airline within 12 months,” Hi Fly president Paulo Mirpuri confirmed to CTVNews.ca in a statement.

“Our corporate mission is based around sustainability and we work hand in glove with the Mirpuri Foundation to make sure that our corporate practices match our wider responsibilities to the planet.”

Mirpuri is also president of the Lisbon-based Mirpuri Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on environmental sustainability.

“The test flights will help us trial the many substitute items we have developed and introduced, in a real-world environment,” Mirpuri said.

“We know we may encounter some initial teething problems, but we are confident of addressing these over the coming months.”

Hi Fly aims to make its entire fleet plastic-free by the end of 2019. The firm’s has already removed plastics from its offices, providing employees with water stations throughout its headquarters and distributing water bottles to staff.

The leasing company announced its intention to go plastic-free by 2019 back in March. The firm said the change will require investment.

“Human beings have believed the ocean is an inexhaustible source of food and pleasure as well as a limitless garbage dump,” Mirpuri said.

“We can no longer ignore the impact plastic contamination has on ecosystems, as well as on human health. We know, too, from the feedback we have received from client airlines and passengers, that it’s the right thing for the airline to be doing.”

Portuguese Minister of Environment João Pedro Matos Fernandes has said the state will cease the use of all single-use plastics by January 2019.

Irish airline Ryanair, the largest carrier in Europe by passenger numbers, has also promised to eliminate non-recyclable plastics from its operations by 2023.

It will also introduce a voluntary carbon offset payment for customers when booking.

Air New Zealand has also pledged to remove single-use plastic items from its flights.

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LIFESTYLES

Ottawa families give mixed reviews for online schooling

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So, how’s it going with online school? Families reached by CBC Ottawa seem to have mixed reviews. 

Masuma Khan is a mother of two. Her seven-year-old, Hana Wyndham in Grade 2, is attending French immersion virtual school. Masuma is grateful it’s an option, but can’t help notice a lot of down time.

“There’s a lot of, ‘are you on mute?’ In terms of the amount of learning that’s actually happening, it does seem to be not that high,” said Masuma.

Parents who kept their children at home this fall are in the minority, but they still form a significant chunk of families in Ottawa.

In the city’s largest school board, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), about 27 per cent of elementary students and 22 per cent of high school students chose online learning. The Ottawa Catholic School Board says roughly a quarter of its students are online.

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Top environment official urges Canadians to back Ottawa’s ambitious plans to tackle plastic trash

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The second in command at the federal Environment Ministry challenged Canadians to continue to speak up about the problem of plastic pollution and push elected officials, scientists and businesses to do more.

Quebec MP Peter Schiefke, parliamentary secretary to the minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, made the comments online at Vancouver’s annual zero waste conference on Friday.

He said most Canadians want solutions to curb the tens of thousands of tonnes of plastic garbage that ends up as litter each year on the country’s beaches, parks, lakes and in the stomachs of animals. 

“Making sure that message is heard with industry stakeholders, elected officials and make sure that they are constantly putting pressure on it … so we notice that this is something that Canadians want, the backing of Canadians to go and undertake these huge challenges,” he said.

Schiefke filled in for  Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson at the last minute after Wilkinson was called away to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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OC Transpo’s monthly bus pass one of the most expensive fares in Canada

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OTTAWA — OC Transpo’s monthly bus pass is one of the most expensive passes in Canada, and transit riders are facing another 2.5 per cent hike in transit fares on New Year’s Day.

Ahead of Wednesday’s Transit Commission meeting on the 2021 budget, CTV News Ottawa looked at the cost of a monthly adult bus pass at transit services across Canada. Ottawa ranks behind the TTC in Toronto, Mississauga’s “MiWay”, Brampton Transit and Vancouver “TransLink” Zone 2 access to the suburbs for most expensive transit fares in Canada.

The cost of an OC Transpo adult monthly bus pass is currently $119.50 a month.

The 2021 City of Ottawa budget includes a proposed 2.5 per cent hike in transit fares. If approved, an adult monthly transit pass will increase $3 to $122.50, while a youth pass will increase $2.25 to $94.50 a month.  The cost of an adult single-ride cash fare would rise a nickel to $3.65.

The TTC is the most expensive transit service in Canada, charging $156 a month for an adult fare. MiWay charges $135 a month, and the cost of an adult monthly pass with Brampton Transit is $128.

Metro Vancouver’s transportation network “TransLink” has three fare zones. The monthly bus pass cost for “Zone 1”, which covers Vancouver, is $97 for adults. The “Zone 2” fare, which covers Vancouver and the suburbs of Richmond and Burnaby, is $131 a month.

Edmonton Transit Service, which includes a Light Rail System with 18 stations on two different lines, charges $97 a month for an adult monthly bus pass.

An adult monthly bus pass in Calgary costs $109 a month.

The survey by CTV News Ottawa of transit fares across Canada shows Gatineau has higher transit fares than Montreal and Quebec City. The STO charges $99 a month.

A monthly adult bus pass costs $88.50 in Montreal and $89.50 in Quebec City.

The cheapest adult monthly bus fare is in Charlottetown, at $58.50 a month. A monthly bus pass in Whitehorse costs $62 a month.

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