Public outrage soared last month when the Grand Canyon backtracked on a plan to ban disposable plastic water bottle sales from the park after Coca-2Cola, a major park sponsor, made its voice heard with top park officials.
Well, the plan is back on the table again, and a ban on sales of disposable plastic bottles in the park could be implemented by spring of 2012.
USA Today summarizes the latest development:
A National Park Service directive, issued Wednesday (December 14), will let parks halt plastic water bottle sales as long as a regional director signs off on a "rigorous impact analysis" of such factors as cost to concessionaires, signage directing visitors to filling stations, and the health implications of thirsty tourists who might drink from "surface water sources with potential exposure to disease."
The new directive, which is part of a larger Green Parks Plan expected next year, follows speculation that a Grand Canyon ban scheduled to start Jan. 1, 2011, was put on hold after Coca-Cola officials raised concerns through the National Park Foundation. Coca-Cola, which distributes water under the Dasani brand, has donated more than $13 million to the parks.
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), an organization that helped to bring attention to the issue, had reported hearing from National Park Service (NPS) employees that Coca-Cola made a major gift to the National Park Foundation that was contingent on lifting the plastic bottle ban. NPS Director Jon Jarvis denied that the corporation influenced his decision.
TriplePundit credits the change of heart to a petition on Change.org that collected more than 100,000 signatures calling for the Grand Canyon Park Service to "do its job and protect our public land by immediately banning plastic bottles from the canyon."
More on Coca Cola's Pro-Plastic Influence
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