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Grand Canyon Bans Bottled Water Sales

Posted On: 12/27/2011

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FLAGSTAFF, AZ -- Visitors to the Grand Canyon National Park will no longer find disposable plastic water bottles in vending machines, shops, hotels and grocery stores by early next year under a plan by park officials to ban their sale.

Park officials will first have to demonstrate that the park is positioned to comply with new guidelines issued by the National Park Service. The rules require a review of water availability, health and safety, cost and benefits of banning disposable water bottles. Such a ban would also require the approval of the regional parks director.

The Grand Canyon has been encouraging visitors to opt for reusable water bottles over disposable ones and to fill them at one of a dozen water stations installed on the north and south rims. Officials said they have not yet analyzed whether the yearlong effort resulted in a decrease in park waste, 30% of which is made up of disposable plastic water bottles.

Zion and Hawaii Volcanoes national parks have instituted bans similar to the one proposed at the Grand Canyon. The National Park Service said those parks also would have to show in writing that the new guidelines are met and evaluate the bans annually.