Players from various socioeconomic sectors join forces for the environment

    - Partnership to make young people aware about taking concrete action for
      the environment
    - Reduction at source movement of plastic bags at PROXIM beginning in

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    MONTREAL, June 29 /CNW Telbec/ - A concrete step for the environment and
for health was taken today as the Quebec Environment Foundation, the group of
pharmacist-owners affiliated with PROXIM and PROXIMed, the Direction de santé
publique of l'Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal, and
Théâtre Parminou joined forces to launch an initiative to motivate young
Quebeckers to take concrete action to protect the environment. "Our initiative
proposes ways to change behaviours and thereby preserve our environment and
our health in a context of sustainable development," said Claude Hill,
vice-president and director of the Quebec Environment Foundation.

    Raising awareness in Quebec schools

    The Quebec Environment Foundation, the Direction de santé publique and
the pharmacist-owners affiliated with PROXIM and PROXIMed are teaming up to
support a program aimed at more than 65,000 children aged 10 to 14 to impress
upon them the importance of protecting the environment by reducing the health
impacts of pollution. Beginning in October in Montreal, Théâtre Parminou will
embark on a province-wide tour of 250 schools with an interactive play about
preserving air quality and its impact on health. A teaching kit for use in the
classroom will also be distributed to more than 3,000 teachers so they can
continue to build on the awareness generated by the play and encourage
students and their friends to take action. "If we can make kids aware of the
importance of the quality of their environment, we can convince them of the
need to act," said Michel Chartrand, president of PROXIM. "The environment has
a major impact on public health. For example, air pollution can exacerbate
heart disease and respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and
emphysema," explained Norman King, epidemiologist with the Direction de santé

    Air quality: a major concern for the Direction de santé publique

    The Direction de santé publique, which is actively involved in air
quality issues, will approve the instructional content developed for teachers
by the Quebec Environment Foundation. "We have to give young people ideas and
convince them that they can influence their family and friends. We need to
give them not only information but examples of how to take action, because any
initiative aimed at improving outdoor air quality will help reduce symptoms
associated with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and prevent
pollution-related deaths," added Mr. King.

    First group of pharmacist-owners to eliminate plastic bags

    In addition to supporting this initiative, PROXIM will become the first
group of pharmacist-owners to join the movement to reduce the use of plastic
bags at source. Beginning September 17, customers shopping at pharmacies owned
by PROXIM pharmacist-owners in all regions of Quebec will be encouraged to opt
for reusable shopping bags. Plastic bags will cost five cents each, and the
money will be donated to the Quebec Environment Foundation. Surveys show that
the fact of charging even a small, symbolic amount for plastic bags has a
major impact on customer behaviour, reducing bag use by more than 50%. "The
young people we are targeting with our environmental and health partners won't
be demanding single-use plastic bags in the future," continued Mr. Chartrand.

    Line Beauchamp applauds initiative

    Line Beauchamp, Quebec's Minister of Sustainable Development ,
Environment and Parks applauded this initiative, which is in line with the
voluntary code of best practices for the use of shopping bags: "There's no
doubt this is a great way to reduce the use of plastic bags. We encourage
leaders in all sectors across the province to undertake similar projects to
improve health and the environment."
    Maureen Martineau, Théâtre Parminou's co-artistic director, is the author
of the play that will be seen by more than 65,000 students in 250 Quebec
schools: "Une planète pour P.O. tells audiences of 10- to 14-year-olds the
troubling story of the contagious indifference which we allow to poison us.
Pierre-Olivier urges the kids to seek solutions for the toxic situation in his
village, where villagers have chosen development and rampant consumption over
air quality." A pioneer in interactive theatre for the past 36 years, Théâtre
Parminou has presented more than 3,000 performances across Quebec to more than
600,000 young people. The Association Québécoise pour la Promotion de
l'Education Relative à l'Environnement and the Monique Fitz Back Foundation
have also contributed to producing the content of the play and the teaching

For further information:

For further information: Isabelle Fontaine, (514) 843-2331, Cell: (514)

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