People in Henan are blaming the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge for encouraging users to waste clean water at the same time China’s north is plagued by a serious drought.
Residents of Pingdingshan gathered in front of the Giant Buddha on August 22 on the central plains and were photographed holding empty buckets over their heads, reports the People’s Daily Online.
The ALS ice bucket challenge has become very popular in China with a number of Chinese celebrities who have dumped buckets of water upon themselves in order to raise contributions and awareness for Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
However, the protesters are chastising participants for wasting clean drinking water. “Those that play around with ice water don’t know of the drought that we have been facing!” one protester said.
Unfortunately for them, most seem to be ignoring their pleas.
Can’t make heads or tails (out of your protest). If we don’t fool around with buckets of water, can we send you our water? It’s best if you yourselves don’t play around with water, and it won’t kill you to refrain from criticizing other people. If you have time to do your (protest), then you should have time to transport water! If the drought is so severe over there, then what you are doing is putting on a show.
Crass sensationalism; hype with malicious intent.
How much water can be conserved? Can’t be more than this wasteful activity. For example, the use of the paper (signs on your chests) is very wasteful. [tragedy.emo]
You should ask why there isn’t any power going to your wells, where the funds allocated to this extreme climate have gone. A few buckets of ice water isn’t going to help your drought.
Waste of water? What a good idea! According to my conscience, (I should tell you) your household uses the equivalent of several buckets of water flushing the toilet everyday. (Your post is) boring.
What’s wrong with Henan people? There’s a drought going on, and not having enough water to drink is a fact! Is it wrong to urge others to conserve water?! We all live on one world with limited resources. For those that one day won’t have enough water to use, remember how you acted at this time!
Charity does not conflict with fighting a drought.
This isn’t the first protest against the Ice Bucket Challenge. Celebrity Li Ao wrote in an August 23 Weibo post, “This activity of using ice water to pour over one’s head to show concern for sufferers of ALS is both confusing and hypocritical.”
While Li’s criticism was easily dismissed by netizens as jealousy from being ignored when not personally named in a challenge, the drought conditions in China are as real as those throughout the rest of the world where the the ALS ice bucket challenge has also been criticized.
The Twitter hashtag #droughtshaming has arisen in response to the challenge. At the moment, a severe drought is currently taking place throughout 95% of California, its worst since 1850. The drought is so severe that residents who waste water are fined US$500. In comparison, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is estimated to have used between five and six million gallons of fresh water.
Executive director of the Soil and Water Conservation Society Jim Gulliford said if people are worried about water conservation, they should pay attention to other wasteful activities. ”If we are interested in water lost or wasted each day, we should be less concerned with water used to draw attention to the insidious disease ALS and more concerned with water leaking from common household faucets.”
While awareness for ALS has risen considerably in the Chinese media since the challenge went viral with more exposure given to ALS sufferers who are not covered under national health insurance, it appears that contributions to the ALS Foundation have not followed suit.
Since July 29, a total of US$41 million has been raised for the ALS Foundation worldwide. Of that total, RMB 2.3 million (US$370,000) has been contributed by Chinese citizens, despite viral videos that have been viewed 1.5 billion times, reports China Daily.
Photos: People’s Daily Online