Grand Canyon bottle-ban nixed

Coca-Cola pressures national-park officials into calling off plastic-bottle ban

The nation’s park chief apparently faltered under pressure from Coca-Cola while considering a ban on the sale of disposable plastic bottles in Grand Canyon National Park.

The litter-reduction plan targeting disposable water bottles as the single greatest source of trash in the park was scrapped shortly before its Jan. 1, 2011, start date, according to the New York Times. About two weeks before the ban would have been enforced, top federal parks official Jon Jarvis decided to shelve the project after conversations with Coca-Cola, which sells water under the Dasani brand and has donated approximately $13 million to the national-park system.

“That was upsetting news because of what I felt were ethical issues surrounding the idea of being influenced unduly by business,” said Stephen P. Martin, a Grand Canyon official.

In preparation for the ban, the park had already installed filling stations for reusable water bottles at a cost of about $300,000.