In 2011, the National Park Service instituted a policy that would ban the sale of water bottles in 23 national parks. The eco-friendly objective was to cut back on plastic litter, and parks encouraged visitors to hydrate with refillable bottles instead. The Trump administration’s secretary of the interior, Ryan Zinke, overturned the policy on Aug. 16.
Jill Culora, a spokesperson for the International Bottled Water Association, told NPR that although the policy was established to reduce waste, people were still allowed to buy other less-healthy beverages — carbonated soft drinks, sports drinks, teas, milk, beer, and wine — that were all “packaged in much heavier plastic, glass, cans, and cardboard containers.”
Some condemn the act, such as Sierra Club’s public lands policy director Athan Manuel. In a statement, he explained, “Actions that roll back protections on our National Parks and public lands only move our country backward — putting the importance of local economies, wildlife and communities on the back burner. The reversal is but a symbol for this administration’s larger attacks on the environmental safeguards and protection of public lands.”
Planning on visiting a park soon? Here are the 10 best national parks for a picnic.