Supporting a ban on the sale of plastic water bottles on federal parkland in San Francisco, surrounding counties and Yosemite National Park seems like a no-brainer for a city that regards itself as the epicenter of environmental consciousness.
For one thing, it’s been six years since San Francisco stopped allowing government agencies to buy plastic water bottles. Other planet-saving initiatives include enacting the nation’s first law mandating composting by residents and businesses.
However, this being federal parkland and all, it’s not up to any official in San Francisco to pass a Golden Gate National Recreation Area plastic water bottle ban. That duty lies with the GGNRA and Yosemite National Park. Nevertheless, public sentiment should be taken into account when making any decision.
Supporters of the ban cite a statistic showing that 20 percent of the waste stream in Grand Canyon National Park in 2010 was plastic bottles. Meanwhile, the American Beverage Association believes it’s unnecessary to limit consumer choice and that plastic supports the recycling industry.
The GGNRA will study the impact of a ban, and it will show, among other things, that concessionaires will lose revenue as a result and that money will be needed to install water bottle-filling stations in parks. Perhaps concessionaires can then begin selling reusable water bottles.
A ban would help keep unnecessary waste out of our ecosystems, and in this case some of our most pristine natural environments.