Plastic Pollution

The Problem

We are filling the oceans with millions of tons of plastics and other trash daily. Researchers now estimate there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by the year 2050. This trash threatens animals, birds and marine life that mistake it for food. But it also threatens us. As plastic breaks down in the water, dangerous chemicals become concentrated in the marine food web and contaminate the seafood we eat. Scientists estimate that seafood eaters are ingesting 11,000 tiny pieces of plastic each year.

How Can You Help?

Thank you for joining the effort to eliminate plastic bags in Boston! W2O members came out in force to urge Boston’s City Council to vote in favor of a plastic bag ban! Now W2O has joined with hundreds of other organizations calling on lawmakers in Massachusetts to pass a state-wide ban of plastic bags. Massachusetts would become only the second state in the country to ban plastic bags, behind California.

Read the letter W2O sent to House Speaker Robert DeLeo calling for action on the statewide bag ban in Massachusetts:

Dear Speaker DeLeo,

We are writing to urge you to act on Statewide Plastic Bag Ban H.4234. Plastic bags clog storm drains, pollute our parks and end up in our waterways, resulting in costs to our businesses, taxpayers, and environment that are much higher than worth of the convenience they provide. A statewide ban on single use plastic bags, along with public outreach and education regarding reusable and washable alternatives, would go a long way to reducing litter and protecting our blue planet.

Women Working for Oceans (W2O) is a Boston-based nonprofit that promotes healthy and sustainable oceans through education that inspires action and advocacy. Our members see first hand the negative impact plastic waste has on our green spaces and waterways. Single use plastic bags do not naturally degrade. These bags are predominantly used for mere minutes before they are discarded. Because they are light and aerodynamic, discarded bags then choke Massachusetts’ wildlife and cling to our vegetation.

The seemingly endless ocean is rapidly filling with trash. Massachusetts’ waterways and our great Boston Harbor are the arteries to our ocean, the heart of our planet. The ocean takes care of us: it provides us with the air we breathe, the food we eat, and ensures security for our coastal cities. As Massachusetts women, mothers, and community leaders, we work to protect the natural resources that we love. Our blue planet is the ultimate provider and protector, and we hope to pay it back in kind.

Reducing plastic across Massachusetts will lead to cleaner ecosystems for all life in our beautiful Commonwealth. We hope you will take this under consideration and bring Statewide Plastic Bag Ban H.4234 to a vote before the end of the legislative session.

Thank you for your consideration.

Barbara Burgess, President & Co-Founder Women Working for Oceans

Join the effort to ban plastic bags in Massachusetts here

  • Push for the elimination of plastic bags, Styrofoam and single use plastics in your town or city. 80 communities across Massachusetts have already passed some type of legislation. Find out if your community has taken a stand ( or what you can do to take action in your community. Join the Mass Green Network and support this movement!
  • Refuse single use plastics including straws, water bottles and carry reusable bags to stores.
  • Raise awareness around the issue by educating your friends and family about single-use plastics and their dangers.