Keeping our national parks beautiful should be a nation-wide effort, and the Grand Canyon National Park is hoping to take a step in the new year that would make that easier for everyone by banning the sale of plastic bottles within the park’s borders. The park has had a plastic bottle ban on its radar for a while now and is currently looking into the feasibility of placing public water refilling stations around the park to make sure visitors keep well hydrated. If the ban is approved and implemented the park would be following in the footsteps of Zion National Park in Utah and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – two parks that have already put plastic bottle bans in place.
The Grand Canyon National Park was apparently looking into placing a plastic bottle ban into effect last year but after National Parks Director Jon Jarvis received a concerned call from the President of the Coca Cola Company — a huge Grand Canyon National Park financial contributor and vendor in the park — the plan to ban the bottles was called off. The park service is now looking into the possibility of placing water stations around the park that would be free for the public to refill reusable water containers.
The park service must find reliable water sources for the fountains, do a survey of current plastic bottle vendors and measure what effect the ban would have on public health and safety. This checklist comes at the request of Jarvis who has recently come around to the idea of keeping plastic bottles out of parks. If the Grand Canyon team comes out of the assessment process with a clear plan for reliable water fountain action and a sure bet for the safety of Grand Canyon visitors the ban has a high likelihood of being put into effect in 2012. That is unless Coca Cola swoops in again and convinces Jarvis again that selling carbonated, plastic bottled beverages is more important than reducing waste and preserving the beauty of one of nature’s most epic masterpieces.