On November 10th, the New York Times exposed the real reason the National Park service scrapped their common sense plan to ban the sale of disposable bottled water in Grand Canyon National Park: pushback from Coca Cola, a major park funder.
According to the article, plastic bottles make up 30% of all waste in the park and are the largest source of trash in the canyon. So why isn't this project moving forward?
Here's the problem: Beyond the pollution plastic bottles cause in the park itself, that plastic trash can be transported out to the ocean by the Colorado River. With as many rivers as there are in the world, even ones like the Colorado that have inconsistent flow, even one bottle is too many whether it reaches the ocean or not. If plastic does get to the ocean, it can contribute to The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, causing scores of problems for every creature it encounters along the way- fresh water or salt.
I have seen this problem firsthand. A few years ago I had the opportunity as a journalist to sail with the research organization, The 5 Gyres Institute, to a garbage patch. After seeing what I saw there I was disgusted: plastic trash of every type you can imagine including disposable plastic bottles and bottle caps. Upon my return, I promptly quit my job, began volunteering and devoted my career to trying to solve the marine-eco disaster that is plastic pollution.
Plastic PET bottles pose a clear and present danger to the overall health of the environment and contribute to marine plastic pollution. Coca-Cola sponsors groups that conduct beach cleanup efforts but consistently opposes solutions that would reduce pollution in the first place, like bottle deposits and bottle bans.
We cannot let corporations like Coca Cola shut down common sense measures to reduce plastic pollution. The Grand Canyon Park Service must do its job and protect our public land by immediately banning plastic bottles from the canyon.
Ban the sale of plastic bottled water in Grand Canyon National Park
Dear Mr. Jarvis:
An article published in the New York Times on November 10th, 2011 (http://nyti.ms/uoelmc) exposed the reason the National Park service scrapped their common sense plan to ban the sale of disposable bottled water in Grand Canyon National Park: opposition from Coca Cola. The article states plainly that park officials abruptly abandoned the signature component of their sustainability plan to ban the sale of disposable plastic water water bottles after conversations with one of their biggest supporters, Coca-Cola.
The architect of the plan, Stephen Martin, said in the article that plastic bottles account for 30% of their waste stream and accounts for,"The single biggest source of trash," in the canyon. Enough said.
Plastic PET bottles pose a clear and present danger to the overall health of the environment and contribute to marine plastic pollution. Coca-Cola sponsors ocean conservation groups who conduct beach cleanup efforts but Coca-Cola vehemently opposes the one solution that actually works to mitigate their product's negative effect on the environment: bottle deposits.
Why are we risking the majesty of a national treasure, contributing to a legacy of treating the ocean like a garbage dump for a relationship with a company that is hell bent on opposing REAL solutions to their product's impact?
Please reconsider your decision and say no to industry bullying. Institute a ban on plastic bottles in the Grand Canyon.