NPS blocks plastic bottle ban at Grand Canyon at last minute

A ban on the sale of disposable water bottles in Grand Canyon National Park was halted at the last minute due to concerns raised by Coca-Cola, The New York Times reports.

Coca-Cola is a major producer of disposable water. The company is also a major donor to the National Park Foundation, where the concerns originated only two weeks before the ban was to go into effect earlier this year.

“That was upsetting news because of what I felt were ethical issues surrounding the idea of being influenced unduly by business,” Stephen P. Martin, the former Grand Canyon superintendent who developed the ban, told The New York Times. “It was even more of a concern because we had worked with all the people who would be truly affected in their sales and bottom line, and they accepted it.”

Instead of announcing the ban, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis put it on hold. “My decision to hold off the ban was not influenced by Coke, but rather the service-wide implications to our concessions contracts, and frankly the concern for public safety in a desert park," he told the Times.

Disposable water bottles account for about 30 percent of the waste stream at Grand Canyon, which is home to the Hualapai Tribe. The Havasupai Tribe and the Navajo Nation depend on the park for tourism.

Get the Story:
Parks Chief Blocked Plan for Grand Canyon Bottle Ban (The New York Times 11/10)

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