More than 90,000 people across the country have joined a popular campaign on Change.org asking the National Park Service (NPS) to go ahead with plans to ban plastic water bottles in Grand Canyon National Park.
Last year, Grand Canyon National Park attempted to address its overflowing plastic bottle problem with a ban on sales of plastic water bottles within the park. Zion National Park, in Utah, had instituted a similar ban on bottles in 2008 which was met with great results and acclaim from environmentalists and NPS officials alike. The park service even gave Zion an environmental achievement award in 2009 for eliminating 60,000 plastic bottles from the park in its first year of the ban.
The Grand Canyon ban was the brainchild of Stephen P. Martin, the former Superintendent (aka head honcho) of Grand Canyon National Park. According to Martin, the bottles are the "single biggest source of trash" found inside the canyon. His plan to ban the bottles was on track to begin on January 1, 2011. But just two weeks before the ban was set to launch, Jon Jarvis, NPS Director (a.k.a. head honcho of all national parks) put the plan on hold.
According to David Barna, NPS spokesperson, Jarvis "put it on hold until we can get more information,” adding “reducing and eliminating disposable plastic bottles is one element of our green plan. This is a process, and we are at the beginning of it.”
But almost a year later, environmentalists are questioning the park's decision to hold off on the ban, insinuating that the real reason for the stall is lobbying efforts from Coca-Cola (the company distributes water under the Dasani brand and has donated more than $13 million to the parks). To date, more than 92,000 people have signed the petition calling on the NPS to go ahead with their plans to ban disposable water bottles from Grand Canyon National Park.
For more info about the petition, check it out on Change.org.