After President Trump rolled back a six-year Obama-era ban on selling bottled water at U.S. national parks last year, New York City Council has responded by introducing a ban of their own on single-use water bottles at city parks and beaches.
“In the face of the Trump administration's regressive and profit-driven agenda, it is time we step up and do our part to curb our reliance on single-use bottles,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal, who on Monday introduced legislation alongside Council Member Ben Kallos and Environmental Protection Chair Costa Constantinides.
“If we have any hope of sustaining our planet, lessening our consumption will reduce the amount of fossil fuels emitted into the planet and prevent these products from polluting our environment,” Espinal added. “I look forward to making reusable containers — not single-use bottles — the new norm in New York City parks and beaches.”
While Espinal’s bill centered on city parks and beaches, Kallos authored a second bill to ban single-use water bottles in city government parks and concessions such as the Wollman and Lasker ice rinks, which are operated by Trump.
“Trump may try to destroy the environment at our national parks, but we can force President Trump to do his part to protect our environment right here in New York City,” Kallos said. “We can save our planet one bottle at a time. Learning from the example of our National Parks under President Obama, we can bring the same protection to our environment right here in New York City.”
The new legislation was requested by the city chapter of the Sierra Club in an attempt to help offset the 50 billion plastic bottles Americans dispose of each year, as well as reduce fossil fuels as it takes roughly 20 billion barrels of oil to produce plastic bottles.
“Going forward, there will be a greater need for more drinking-water fountains and their maintenance throughout the city to make it easier for residents to refill their reusable bottles,” the Sierra Club said. “The bottle bill and these other actions are important to protect our precious and invaluable municipal water supply."
Bottled water by the numbers
• 1 million plastic bottles are bought every minute. Less than half are recycled, and just 7 percent are reused for new bottles (Euromonitor)
• Up to 13 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans to be eaten by sea life (Ellen MacArthur Foundation)
• In turn, humans who eat seafood ingest about 11K pieces of tiny plastic each year (Ghent University, Belgium)
• After the 2011 water bottle ban, Grand Canyon National Park reduced waste from single-use plastic bottles by as much as 300 tons, or 30 percent. (The Washington Post)