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The Rice Bucket Challenge

September 26, 2014 at 5:32 PM

As we recently reported, the ice bucket challenge was a genuine viral sensation since its initiation in June of this year. The challenge entails people being doused with ice cold water, then paying the compliment forward, to the friends, family and colleagues that they then nominate. The challenge has travelled around the world and taken in its wake both the general population, and the shining lights of celebrity, whether that be Matt Damon, Benedict Cumberbatch or Kermit The Frog.  I still feel Kermit would have made a better Sherlock Holmes but in any case, the resulting footage will usually then be posted onto social networks.

the_rice_bucket_challenge.jpgYou may - and justifiably - be asking why anyone would want to visit such a torture upon themselves, and of course the reason is that there is a charitable element to all this water-born lunacy.  Beyond awareness, the money raised also goes to charities concerned with ALS, a condition of the nervous system.

All well and good, but the stunt is not without its critics, especially in water-starved nations, where the notion is wasting perfectly good water is anathema (in fact, to confront that issue Matt Damon used water from the toilets of his own house).  In South Asia, such profligacy is even more keenly felt.  In Sri Lanka, for instance, a politician completed the Ice Bucket Challenge for a local animal welfare charity, only to have her donation refused because of the wastage, in a country itself suffering from drought.  In Nepal, 250 people died after particularly severe monsoon rains, floods and landslides.  In Mumbai, meanwhile, Bollywood film stars have also declined the invitation, because of this very contentious issue.

'Rice' to the challenge

However, one especially innovative campaigner in India has come up with an ingenious way of bypassing such ethical considerations.  And it's so simple it’s perfect: simply add the letter “R” to the Ice Bucket Challenge and what do you get... something that is in abundant supply in South Asia?

Yes indeed, fill those buckets with rice instead of ice and, rather than pouring it over your head, encourage your social media followers to donate a similar amount of rice, to those in need.  The campaign already has 98,000 followers since it launched, all having fun online but without the attendant moral soaking engendered by its western counterpart.

Next door to India, in Nepal, a similar idea is underway, to help those fleeing their homes after the landslides.  The “Fill The Bucket Challenge” entails people filling buckets with both food and medical supplies and then donating them to those families in need of assistance in the Himalayan area.

It is interesting that such a well-meaning, viral stunt can have such a different reading in varied parts of the world; regional variants of a central good intention.  And of course the central aspect that holds true whether in America, India, Sri Lanka or Nepal, is the need for a plastic bucket in which to store the ice water, rice, or food and medical supplies, whether sent on, or immediately poured out. 

Of course we don’t know where our buckets end up once they leave us, here at H&O, but we would love to think a few might end finding a use in such a fabulous, and laudable, stunt.


Tags: plastic buckets, pails, plastic containers
Category: plastics news

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