When the 2019 General Assembly session began in early January, we had high hopes that this would be a banner year for the environment and public health. We had spent the previous four months working with stakeholders from around the state to put together a plan to reduce single-use plastic pollution. We had a commitment from the Governor to fight the climate crisis by supporting mandatory and enforceable carbon emissions reductions across the three largest sectors of Rhode Island’s economy.
Internet challenges come and go, and generally I don’t pay much attention to them. This week, however, I began to see pictures of people posing with bags full of trash they had collected pop up all over social media. It seems the #trashtag challenge has taken off across the globe, bringing a ton of attention to a problem that has plagued us for decades, ever since the advent of our convenient, throwaway lifestyle.
My spouse and I are expecting our first child in the spring. Needless to say, our friends and families are very excited, and we are receiving a lot of advice and insight. One of the most frequent nuggets we have been getting goes something like this: “It really starts to get fun and exciting when you get to put together your baby registry!”
Yesterday, the Rhode Island House of Representatives voted to pass H5082, which will phase out the use of organohalogens, a dangerous chemical used in flame retardants that is associated with cancer and respiratory ailments.
The Senate already unanimously passed this bill in the spring, but when the General Assembly adjourned suddenly in June, the House version was left in legislative limbo. Over the summer, we worked to make sure that a strong version of this bill would be on the agenda when the General Assembly reconvened in the fall to address its unfinished business.
For the last few months, all anyone has been able to talk about here in Rhode Island is infrastructure.