Grand Canyon to ban bottled water sales

by Ella FAIRCHILD on February 7, 2012

Activists that have voiced concerns on Coca-Cola possibly influencing the US’ National Park Service’s policy started breathing a bitĀ easier today after Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park reveled that it will eliminate sales of bottled water within its confinesĀ over the next 30 days.

John Wessels, the park service’s regional director, commented that the US’ parks should set a standard for both resource protection and sustainability. Wessels added that he remains confident on the impact to park concessionaires or partners being given fair consideration before concluding that the plan will be implemented without any impact to the visiting public.

It was a 2 December email from Jonathan Jarvis, the National Park Service’s director, that prompted discussion of possible ban. The email warned that despite Jarvis supporting the intent of any bans, such actions would bring consequences considering that Coca-Cola is a sponsor of the recycling efforts being made by his organisation.

The group that was able to obtain the email, the ever-vocal Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, spoke to the press and confirmed that although it considers the National Park Services’ move a victory, there are still concerns. It is hoped that the roles of all corporate donors will be limited whenever vital park management decisions are made.

Grand Canyon National Park has estimated that waste related to disposable bottles presently makes up around 20 per cent of the overall waste stream as well as 30 per cent of all recyclables. The park has also been experiencing increasing amounts of litter that are associated with plastic bottles and similar items along trails on the canyon’s rim and within its inner reaches.

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