President Donald Trump has courted controversy over a decision to reverse the ban on the sale of plastic bottles in America’s national parks.
The Trump Administration has ended a six year old policy that allowed parks to ban the sale of plastic water bottles.
Opponents of the ban argued that it limited access to drinking water and, because the ban did not extend to soda, could encouraged people to make unhealthy drink choices. The policy change came after lobbying by the International Bottled Water Association, reports The Guardian.
23 of America’s 417 parks had ended bottled water sales, encouraging visitors to bring their own reusable bottles and use free water filling stations. That included the Grand Canyon, where plastic bottles comprised 20% of waste. Other parks banning the sale of plastic bottles also included Zion national park and Biscayne National Park.
The change prevents national parks from banning plastic bottles. Parks will however, continue to encourage people to use free bottle filling stations.
“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,” said Acting National Park Service Director Michael T. Reynolds in a statement.
The move comes a month after 19 of America’s top aquariums started an initiative to phase out plastic packaging.