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Primeau: Plastic pollution in the ocean 'hits close to home'

The Habs goaltending prospect and his friends are organizing an ocean cleanup in New Jersey this weekend

by Dan Braverman @CanadiensMTL /

MONTREAL - If you follow Canadiens goaltending prospect Cayden Primeau on social media - be it Twitter or Instagram - you will surely have seen his many posts about plastic waste and pollution in the ocean by now. Primeau and his friends have started an environmental awareness brand, Braving Blue, and are organizing an ocean cleanup in Margate City, NJ on June 15. We caught up with the 19-year-old netminder to find out more about the initiative and why it's important to him.

Tell us about the Braving Blue brand and how it came to be.
My friends started it just as an Instagram page. They just used it as a second account to keep up to date on the environment and make posts around that kind of thing. And when we decided to come up and try to host our own event, it took that name over.

Tweet from @cpreems29: My friends and I are hosting a fundraiser to help fund our ocean cleanup event and future events. Anything will help and we appreciate your contribution!! Please feel free to pass the link along to anyone you believe would like to aid in the fight against ocean debris! Thanks!

And tell us about the ocean cleanup you're organizing for June 15.
I live on the water. I live on the bay, which is a cross between marshlands and the ocean. So during the different tides of the day, a lot of trash gets stuck in the marshlands. We're just going to go there and try to take up as much as we can and dispose of it properly.

Tweet from @cpreems29: Braving Blue Ocean Cleanup

Why has the environment and cleaning up the ocean become so important to you?
I live pretty much on the ocean, so it hits really close to home. Anything we can do to give back, just to help out in any way, and being able to share it on social media and bring light to it is huge. Not everyone was able to come to the physical cleanups and that's why we started a GoFundMe for people to be able to help in any way they can.

There are lots of little things any one individual can do to make a difference in terms of the environment. What are some changes you've made to your own behavior to that end?
Two of the main things I can tell you right off the bat were the biggest changes for me were first, trying to keep the lights off as long as possible during the day. In my house, we're pretty fortunate to get some natural light, so we're trying to use that instead of wasting energy. And the second is trying to use our own bags when going to the grocery store instead of getting plastic bags, because those will just go right in the trash; there's really no use for them. Where I live, they just started an initiative to hand out reusable bags at local stores. We're headed in the right direction, so hopefully things keep going up from here.

Did you hear about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's announcement to ban single-use plastics in Canada by 2021?
That's huge. Single-use plastics are one of the biggest contributors [to ocean pollution] and one of the biggest things that we'll be able to find in the cleanup, so eliminating that is huge.

Do you try to spread your environmental message in the locker room? Or do you keep those two worlds separate?
A little bit separate; I don't really bring it up. But some people just see what I do and go from there. Just little habits that you can instill in people from your day-to-day.

So you're doing it by leading by example.

What message would you give to Habs fans who are interested in doing more to help fight climate change and pollution?
The first thing would be to try to reduce the use of single-use plastics as much as possible. And the second would be to try to bring your own bags or use reusable bags when going to the grocery store. That helps out a lot, and then it won't end up in our oceans.

To contribute to the Braving Blue ocean cleanup GoFundMe, click here.

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