Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey announced at the Clinton Global Initiative on Monday that her state will be the first to ban all state agencies from purchasing single-use plastic bottles.
The Clinton Global Initiative was held during New York’s Climate Week, an event that draws in climate activists, political leaders, and business owners from around the world. At the week-long summit, people share not only new information about the climate crisis but also innovative ideas as to how to make real and lasting change.
Democratic Gov. Maura Healey gave an important speech at the summit in which she told the world, “We know that plastic waste, plastic production are among the leading threats to our oceans, our climate, and environmental justice. In government, we have an obligation – we also have an opportunity – to not only stop contributing to this damage but to chart a better path forward.”
And she went on to explain exactly how she plans to turn these words into action: “In our coastal state, we know climate change is our biggest threat. We also believe that taking action is our greatest opportunity, an opportunity to secure a safe, prosperous, and sustainable future,” Healey said, “So we are proud to become the first state to adopt a procurement ban on single-use plastic bottles.”
The speech was certainly inspiring, but what really caught the world’s attention was the announcement that, per Healey’s orders, the state of Massachusetts will place a complete ban on the purchasing of single-use plastic bottles by state agencies.
The world has known for years that plastic pollution is a significant problem for the planet and that, specifically, plastic bottles are causing an extreme amount of damage to the Earth’s oceans. In fact, the environmentalist organization the Sierra Club released a report stating that Americans alone use an incredible 50 billion single-use plastic water bottles every year and that only 29% of those bottles are recycled.
That means billions upon billions of plastic bottles are ending up in landfills, in freshwater sources, and of course, eventually in the ocean. These plastic bottles cause illness and death to marine life, as well as release microplastics that are then in our food and water.
While some states around the country have banned plastic bags, no one has yet taken on the task of prohibiting plastic water bottles, as it is such a big undertaking.
It’s important to note that Healey has not yet explained the extent to which the state of Massachusetts will ban single-use plastic water bottles. According to her announcement, state agencies will be prohibited from purchasing them, but she did not mention how the ban will apply to private businesses.
Fortunately, we won’t have to wait long to find out. Healey plans to sign the executive order on Thursday and explain the ban in detail. Once signed, the injunction will take immediate effect.
Although Healey has been the governor of Massachusetts for less than a year, she is already making significant changes to the state’s legislation, and the rumor is that there are more to come in the near future.