By Amanda Mills for Nation of Change.
The 2011 “Water Bottle Ban” gave national parks the allowance to prohibit the sale of plastic water bottles, which helped reduce park waste and carbon emissions. 23 national parks had adopted this policy and were seeing positive benefits. While it was not an outright ban, parks were encouraged to make this eco-friendly move.
The beverage industry has strongly opposed this policy and has continuously lobbied for its removal.
“The bottled water industry has led a years-long campaign against this commonsense policy, all to protect its bottom line. The fact that Trump administration officials knew the benefits of this policy back in May but still decided to rescind it last month sure looks to me like the bottled water industry’s lobbying dollars at work,” says Lauren DeRusha Florez, an associate campaign director at Corporate Accountability International.
The Trump administration has just removed this ban along with a series of Obama-era environmental protections.
“While we will continue to encourage the use of free water bottle filling stations as appropriate, ultimately it should be up to our visitors to decide how best to keep themselves and their families hydrated during a visit to a national park, particularly during hot summer visitation periods,” acting NPS director Michael T. Reynolds stated.
The National Park Service (NPS) believed the disposable water bottle ban policy removed the healthiest beverage option (even with drinking fountains available and a push for reusable drinking containers) for park-goers, who were then left with the only option of purchasing unhealthy beverages like soft drinks, sports drinks, etc. They suggest better recycling options be made available.