Jon Jarvis

More than 90,000 people across the country have joined a campaign on Change.org calling on the National Park Service to ban plastic water bottles following the park’s decision to abruptly cancel implementation of a ban amid charges of corporate influence from Coca-Cola.

Stiv Wilson launched the campaign on Change.org after learning of allegations that the National Park Service nixed its long-planned ban on plastic water bottles in the Grand Canyon due to a last-minute lobbying effort by Coca-Cola, a major national park donor actively opposed to bottled water bans, according to a news release.

“The National Park Service has a responsibility to keep the park free from litter, not to keep mega-corporations like Coca-Cola happy,” said Stiv Wilson, an Oregon-based activist on marine plastic pollution who works with the research group 5 Gyres. “The Grand Canyon belongs to all of us, and banning plastic bottles is the single best way to keep plastic waste from polluting the Grand Canyon and our oceans.

“Thousands have joined this campaign,” Wilson continued. “We just won’t stand for it.”

The ban on plastic bottles was less than two weeks from implementation before it was abruptly canceled last December. Recent news reports have attributed National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis’s decision to halt the program to opposition from Coca-Cola, which conveyed its concerns through the National Park Foundation, an organization that channels donations to the national park system.

“People are really tuned into this campaign,” said Change.org Director of Organizing Corinne Ball. “Using Change.org – a platform anyone, anywhere can use – thousands of people have been able to take action to protect a place that holds a strong connection for many Americans: the Grand Canyon. This campaign has really taken off.”