Won’t someone please think of the bottled water industry?

Jonathan Freedland at the Guardian reminds us (as do many) that while we’re fuming at Trump’s misogynist insults he’s doing damage that will last for decades.

Freedland starts with the murder of net neutrality and the blizzard of judicial appointments.

Needless to say, 91% of Trump’s nominees are white and 81% are male, re-stacking the judiciary with white men at a rate unseen for 30 years, reversing decades of steady progress towards a bench that resembles the society it judges.

That’s truer still of his record on the environment, which seems to have no purpose beyond vandalism, erosion of the Obama legacy and the enrichment of his corporate pals. One of Trump’s first acts was lifting the ban on mining companies dumping waste in rivers and streams. Since then he has told national parks they have to resume selling bottled water at sites including the Grand Canyon, even though the ban had prevented the dumping of up to 2m plastic bottles.

Oh has he. I missed that one. Jessica Glenza in the Guardian September 26.

A ban on bottled water in 23 national parks prevented up to 2m plastic bottles from being used and discarded every year, a US national park service study found. That is equivalent to up to 326 barrels of oil worth of emissions, 419 cubic yards of landfill space and 111,743lb of plastic, according to the May study.

Despite that, the Trump administration reversed the bottled water ban just three months later, a decision that horrified conservationists and pleased the bottled water industry.

More money for people who sell bottled water and shareholders who invest in bottled water companies; that’s the important thing.

(I remember once grumbling about paper cups for water in a workplace and a co-worker grumbling back about lost jobs if people stopped using a paper cup once then throwing it out. So then why not just buy whole shipments of paper cups and throw them out unused? Or use a separate cup for each sip? Why not set fire to everything as a job creation scheme?)

The plan to curb pollution in America’s most famous wilderness areas was spurred when arguably its most famous park, the Grand Canyon, banned the sale of plastic water bottles in its gift shops, according to the report. Approximately 331 million people visit US national parks each year.

The program was meant to support a “life cycle” approach to plastic, which activists say is the largest global threat to the environment behind climate change. One million plastic bottles are sold per minute, according to a Guardian analysis. The top six drink companies in the world use an average of just 6.6% recycled plastic.

At the same time, new research has shown that plastics which find their way into the sea have entered the food supply. Scientists have found plastic particles in sea salthoneyfishbeer and tap water.

But what is all that compared to profits? Who cares about long term damage when there is short term money to be made?

The agency started allowing parks to ban bottled water in 2011. Since then, the bottled water industry argued that the ban was unfair and eliminated a healthy beverage option, even though hydration stations with free water were installed in parks.

When the National Park Service ended the ban in August, it echoed an industry argument: “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 the acting service director, Michael Reynolds.

Freedom freedom freedom! Plus expensive bottled water in wasteful harmful plastic bottles. Freedom bottles!

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