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Grand Canyon (Garbage)–Sponsored By Coca Cola

November 10, 2011

Item #462 in the Corporatization of EVERYTHING Watch: Coca Cola steps in to derail a plan to ban plastic water bottles–which comprise 30% of the garbage left in the Grand Canyon National Park. Because why would you think that keeping a national treasure pristine is more important than selling Dasani water?

"Damn, my empty plastic bottle is sorta heavy."

Here’s the story:

Weary of 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 the nation’s parks chief abruptly blocked the plan after conversations with Coca-Cola, a major donor to the National Park Foundation.

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.

A spokesman for the National Park Service, David Barna, said it was Jon Jarvis, the top federal parks official, who made the “decision to put it on hold until we can get more information.” He added that “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.”

Two other telling items in this story: That visitors feel fine just tossing away so many bottles. And the ban would only have applied to smaller water bottles, and not big old soda and juice bottles. Really?

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