Americans buy an estimated 28 billion plastic water bottles every year, and nearly eight out of every 10 of those bottles will end up in a landfill, translating to about a 23 percent recycling rate.
In the Grand Canyon, discarded plastic bottles account for about 30 percent of the park’s total waste stream, according to the park service, and they are also the single biggest source of trash found inside the canyon.
Coca-Cola Objected; The Ban Was Blocked
Weary of all this plastic litter, Grand Canyon National Park officials were in the final stages of imposing a ban on the sale of disposable water bottles in the Grand Canyon late last year when Jon Jarvis, the nation’s parks chief abruptly blocked the plan.
In yet another example of corporate interests dictating policy, Coca-Cola, which distributes water under the Dasani brand and is a major donor to the National Park Foundation, objected to the plan, and it was withdrawn.
From The New York Times:
Stephen P. Martin, the architect of the plan and the top parks official at the Grand Canyon, said his superiors told him two weeks before its Jan. 1 start date that Coca-Cola, which distributes water under the Dasani brand and has donated more than $13 million to the parks, had registered its concerns about the bottle ban through the foundation, and that the project was being tabled. His account was confirmed by park, foundation and company officials.
Mr. Martin, a 35-year veteran of the park service who had risen to the No. 2 post in 2003, was disheartened by the outcome. “That was upsetting news because of what I felt were ethical issues surrounding the idea of being influenced unduly by business,” Mr. Martin said in an interview. “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.”
Banning Plastic Bottles Is Limiting Personal Choice?
A spokeswoman for Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Susan Stribling, said the company would rather help address the plastic litter problem by increasing the availability of recycling programs. Stribling argued that such a ban would infringe on people’s rights by limiting their personal choice, and even suggested that banning anything is never the right thing to do.
Really? We should never ban anything? Did I have it all wrong when I marched with the UK’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’s Ban The Bomb protests in the 1980s ?
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