The National Parks Service has issued a ban on the sale of bottled water in 18 of its parks in order to cut down on the amount of plastic trash. But many are questioning whether or not the ban is justified.
The ban in place has only included the sale of bottled water, not the sale of other bottled sugary drinks, such as soda and sports drinks. Does the National Park Service only see plastic carrying healthy drink options as an issue? Initially, the ban seemed to be beneficial to park goers, but instead many people are now turning to sugary drinks as their hydrating option in the park. Many times, this can pose as a risk to the safety of hikers. Many of these non-water options contain significant amounts of sodium, which contributes to dehydration.
Since the ban the National Park Service encourages park goers to use their added refillable water stations, proving to be expensive to taxpayers. NPS.gov reported the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona has spent $288,000 constructing 10 new water filling stations throughout the park. In Zion National Park, three new stations were built costing $447,200. If the stations are not properly serviced, they can pose health hazards to park goers.
In December 2015, Congress required National Park Service to provide facts about how they justify the banning of the sale of bottled water in America’s national parks. A policy that takes away the healthiest packaged beverage that has the smallest environmental footprint of any packaged beverage.
If you planning on visiting one of America’s national parks in the near future, be sure to bring your own bottle of water and choose the healthy option!