New York City Council Fights Back Against Trump Reinstating Plastic Bottles in National Parks with Bill to Ban them in City Parks & Beaches
Bottled Water Would Be Replaced by Reusable Bottles in
City Parks and Concessions Under City Council and Sierra Club Legislation
New York, NY – Following President Trump’s repeal of a six-year ban on selling bottled water at national parks that had reduced plastic pollution and waste, just in time for summer, the New York City Council is introducing legislation to block the sale of single-use water bottles or any plastic water bottles in city parks and beaches.
The package of legislation targets city government concessions including those operated by Trump such as Wollman and Lasker rinks as well as the Ferry Point golf course.
The legislation is being introduced by New York City Council Member Ben Kallos, Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing Chair Rafael Espinal, and Environmental Protection Chair Costa Constantinides. One bill authored by Kallos would ban single-use water bottles in city government parks and concessions in favor of re-usable bottles. The other bill authored by Espinal would ban the sale of any plastic bottle at city parks and beaches.
One million plastic bottles are purchased every minute with less than 50% recycled and only 7% turned into new bottles, with as much as 13 million tons of plastic leaking into our oceans each year to be ingested by sea life. In turn, people who eat seafood ingest about 11,000 pieces of tiny plastic every year.
“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,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “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.”
“Each year 13 million tons of plastics are dumped into the ocean, said NYC Council Member Rafael Espinal. “The problem is so alarming that if we don’t change our consumption and disposal habits, there will be more plastics than fish in the ocean by 2050. 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. 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. I look forward to making reusable containers --not single-use bottles-- the new norm in New York City parks and beaches.”
Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council's Environmental Protection Committee, said, "Producing single-use water bottles not only causes greenhouse gas emissions, but the bottles also bring debris and hazardous materials into our vital waterways. By ending their use at parks and beaches, we can reduce emissions and improve our ecosystem. As the Trump Administration has abdicated its responsibility to protect our environment and reinstated single-use water bottle sales after six years, it is up to local governments like our city to take the lead on sustainability. Thank you to Council Members Kallos and Espinal for this important legislation."
"The bills proposed by Council Members Kallos and Espinal to eliminate single-use plastic bottles will benefit the many marine animals that end up eating the bottles as they end up in the ocean. These bills will also help reduce our dependency on fossil fuels which are used to produce the 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 bottle bill and these other actions are important to protect our precious and invaluable municipal water supply."- Sierra Club NYC Group
The Sierra Club’s New York City Chapter requested the legislation by introduced in order to stem the tide on the 50 billion plastic water bottles disposed of by Americans each year and reduce fossil fuels due to the approximately 20 billion barrels of oil required for production. Following the 2011 action under President Obama Grand Canyon National Park found waste reduction from single-use plastic bottles of as much as 300 tons or 30 percent.
The proposal is modeled on San Francisco’s successful law banning single-use water bottles in 2014 that Council Member Kallos observed on a fact-finding trip later that year. The legislation currently being drafted would cover single-use water bottles and containers at all city-owned or operated or leased parks, properties or concessions, would prevent city agencies from purchasing, would expand water-fill stations, and require reporting on compliance and environmental impact.