(DailyVantage.com) – Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey says she will sign an executive order banning state agencies from purchasing single-use plastic bottles. This will make Massachusetts the first state to effectively implement and enforce this policy. Governor Healey made the announcement about the intended ban while delivering a keynote speech during New York’s Climate Week for the Clinton Global Initiative.
Healey said she is signing the executive order to help protect the environment by reducing the amount of single-use plastic that ends up in oceans and by reducing the carbon footprint left behind by the production of plastic bottles. According to Healey, the government has an “obligation” to reduce the amount of plastic waste and chart a “better path forward”.
According to the Sierra Club, bottled water leaves a carbon footprint 11 to 31 times greater than tap water.
Previous attempts by other legislators in the state have been unsuccessful. In 2014, Tom Sannicandro attempted to prohibit state spending on water bottles whenever there was another source available. The bill was endorsed but never made it through the House Ways and Means Committee. Chris Walsh tried again in 2017 but encountered the same obstacle.
According to Meg Sobkowicz, a professor of plastics engineering at UMass Lowell, plastics provide benefits to society by eliminating food waste and reducing carbon emissions from shipping food. Sobkowicz said that plastic products are not going to disappear and believes more efforts are needed to effectively and safely recycle plastic instead of trying to eliminate the products.
Governor Healey has also announced her intent to sign a separate executive order regarding biodiversity conservation. The focus of this order will be to protect salt marshes, creating marine protected areas that will allow habitats to thrive. Healey claims the decline of these natural biodiverse habitats threatens the state’s food security, public health, and economic stability.
The order banning the purchase of plastic bottles by state agencies will take effect immediately.
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