When 20% of your waste and 30% of your recyclables come from one source, it would seem like an easy decision to eliminate the source. But when you are a National Park and this decision means the ban of bottled water sales you run the risk of upsetting hordes of tourists and the lucrative bottled water industry.
This year Grand Canyon National Park joined, Zion National Park and Volcanoes National Park to ban the sale of bottled water. Park visitors are encouraged to bring their own bottles or buy affordable reusable bottles at the Visitor’s Center. Grand Canyon National Park took it a step further by installing water stations – 10 on the South Rim and 3 on the North Rim, serving up free spring water from Roaring Springs in the canyon.
“Our parks should set the standard for resource protection and sustainability,” John Wessels, regional director for the park service, said in a statement. The National Parks were formed to preserve and protect special places in America, for all time. As our culture changes, how this is accomplished evolves. The ban of the sale of bottled water is one way in today’s culture for the National Parks to reinforce its purpose and brand.
Worldwide over $100B is spent annually on bottled water. In contrast, the United Nations estimates that $15B would reduce the number of people without access to clean water by 50% across the globe. Why buy spring water all the way from Fiji? Or a bottle filled with filtered municipal tap water, when you can have spring water directly from the source? Trust me, the next time you visit Grand Canyon National Park, BYOB and enjoy fresh spring water courtesy of Mother Nature.
For more information about the cost and impact of bottled water visit thewaterproject.org.