Saguaro National Park, home of the native Saguaro Cactus and summoner of beautiful sun sets draped over magnificent Sonoran Desert landscapes has banned the sale of disposable water bottles and soda within the park.
Why? After all, we humans need water to survive. It is in our biological makeup and scientifically proven necessary for sustaining life. Soda on the other hand is not, it just tastes delicious, tantalizes our taste buds and gives us a boost of synthetic energy when we need it. But anyway you look at it, the decision to ban disposable water and soda bottles inside Saguaro National Park is one that is relatively easy to grasp on many levels.
Think about it. The expanse of human life has outstretched its hands into the far reaches of this world, domesticating its terrains and making its beauty relatively accessible to everyone. Unfortunately, though, those outstretched hands tend to leave their waste behind via waste basket or wayside. Of course not everyone litters, and some littering happens without us knowing, but the environmental effects and tainting of the landscape is one in the same, voluntary or not. “Saguaro officials have long been committed to recycling plastic and aluminum saving 61,500 pounds of recyclable waste from landfills in 2010 alone. However, transporting disposable bottles to be recycled also costs money, time, and gasoline. The park could eliminate up to 40 percent of what is currently recycled — about 15 percent of the park’s total waste stream, park officials say.” This newly seeded ban on disposable bottles helps alleviate a great portion of OUR impact within Saguaro National Park.
Of course there are always fiscal reasons behind decisions such as this. Seeing that the park only generates approximately $10,000 of revenue from just 4 vending machines across the park, maintenance and overhead costs outweigh the benefits. Instead their plan is to install water taps or “water-bottle refilling stations” for refilling RE-USABLE bottles that won’t be left to the way side, and the cost to patrons, as park officials put it, “is a bargain!”
In the end, nobody needs to be drinking soda in the middle of the Sonoran Desert and studies have found the plastics from disposable water bottles can leach carcinogens into the water they contain. Help yourself out by purchasing a stainless steel water bottle; they’re more durable, better for your health than plastic and help keep your water cold. The investment will save you money in the long run and better protect the overall health of not just yourself but Saguaro National Park as well!
Other parks that have partaken in similar disposable bottle bans include: Grand Canyon National Park, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and Zion National Park.