Donald Trump just ended a ban that was put in place by Barack Obama back in 2011, which was meant to stop the use of plastic water bottles at national parks. The thought behind this ban was to “reduce our carbon footprint,” but it wasn’t a very well thought out plan, according to the experts weighing in today.
The ending of the ban on plastic water bottles, or “so-called Water Bottle Ban,” has already been announced by the National Park Service. Many in the park service were not for this ban in the first place. The Free Beacon reports how some people think that it goes against the grain of the healthy lifestyle that Michelle and Barack Obama were trying to inject into the nation.
The National Park Service called the ban “counterproductive,” and they didn’t express any sadness to see it gone. As it stood, only 23 out of the nation’s 417 national parks honored the ban. This ban was not well thought out to begin with, according to experts, as it encouraged the national parks to eliminate the sale of water in disposable water bottles, which was a healthy drink option. At the same time, this ban didn’t target the sales of sugary drinks, which are not a healthy option for hydration purposes. You could buy a soda in a plastic bottle but not water under this ban.
When you visit a national park, you are spending time in the great outdoors, which requires a lot of moving around and hiking. The Obama ban did nothing but remove the healthiest choice of beverages for keeping hydrated while partaking in recreational activities at the national parks.
According to Tree Hugger, the Obama administration placed a ban on selling bottled water at National Parks six years ago. The action is called the “Water Bottle Ban,” but the official wording was Policy Memorandum 11-03.
The National Park Service says it is discontinuing water bottle ban to expand hydration options for park visitors https://t.co/gfSPbY32rZ— NPR (@NPR) August 19, 2017
Back when the Obama administration put the ban in place, they said it would have a “significant environmental impact” because this was a step in training Americans into being more “environmentally responsible” in their daily lives.
The policy stated, “Such a policy will allow the NPS and park partners to reduce their environmental footprint, introduce visitors to green products and the concept of environmentally responsible purchasing, and give them the opportunity to take that environmental ethic home and apply it in their daily lives. It will also be a significant step in reducing our carbon footprint.”
A lobbyist who rep'd water bottlers became Interior's deputy & suddenly a water bottle ban was lifted @ nat. parks. https://t.co/IviOrlxCOp— Darryl Fears (@bydarrylfears) August 18, 2017
A spokesperson for the National Park Service suggested that this ban should have been put in place if and only if they had “conducted a lengthy review.” This review would include a “consultation with the public health office, visitor education” on the use of water bottles. Then they would need to submit a “yearly evaluation of their program.”
The Trump administration’s take on this: Americans should have the right to decide if they want to buy a bottle of water to take along with them on a hike. The acting National Park Service director, Michael T. Reynolds, said that they will still continue to encourage free water for visitors to fill their own bottles at stations throughout the parks. With that said, buying water along with the rest of the drinks offered at their concession stands should also be an option.
“The acting director also conveyed that ‘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.’”
According to the Free Beacon, this is the “latest unraveling of Obama’s legacy.” Last week, the private bike share, once used by Obama, was removed from the White House grounds.
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