The National Park Service has ended a policy encouraging national parks to end the sale of plastic disposable water bottles that was aimed at reducing pollution and plastic waste.
In a statement, the NPS said they were lifting the policy to “expand hydration options for recreationalists, hikers, and other visitors to national parks.”
“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 National Park Service director Michael T. Reynolds said in the statement.
I find the arguments against bottled water to be pretty compelling in general, but I think Trump is in the right on this one. Symbolic legislation has its place, but this is the government making bottled water less accessible where it’s most useful. Most bottled water is consumed around the house, where people can really come up with alternate arrangements (such as tap and filter) easily enough. Even those used outside the home are in places where there is a degree of flexibility waiting for the next water fountain. On the other hand, national parks tend to be places where you’re most likely to be concerned with hydration. You don’t want to stand in the way of people and their water because they forgot their bottle.
The policy formulation strikes me as “Bottled water is bad” and “We have control over the national parks” therefore “We should ban bottled water there.” Which is true, true, and false.
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