National Park Service ends policy encouraging parks to ban plastic water bottle sales

National Park Service ends policy encouraging parks to ban plastic water bottle sales
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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.

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According to the NPS, only 23 of the 417 NPS sites had implemented the policy, which was put into place under former President Obama.

The International Bottled Water Association had been a staunch opponent of the policy, criticizing it for only encouraging the end of sales of bottled water and not other drinks like soda and juice.

The bottled water industry pushed Congress to end the policy in 2015, but did not succeed.