Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 14 October 2019

Why Kendall Jenner’s jet ski stunt should signal an end to the bottle cap challenge

The star has been criticised after her Instagram video showed her kicking a bottle cap into the ocean

Kendall Jenner's #bottlecapchallenge video has prompted criticism over ocean pollution. Courtesy AFP
Kendall Jenner's #bottlecapchallenge video has prompted criticism over ocean pollution. Courtesy AFP

A few days ago, Kendall Jenner posted a video on her Instagram showing her taking up a nomination from Hailey Bieber to do the bottle cap challenge that’s been trending on social media.

The viral trend has seen people around the world, including celebrities like Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber, kicking open drinks bottles.

In Jenner’s video, the bikini-clad star rides towards a bottle on a green jet ski, swinging the craft around and stretching out her leg to accurately knock the top of the bottle.

The video has been viewed over 26 million times. Celebrities were quick to fawn over the reality TV star’s attempt. Her sister Khloe commented ‘That’s my girrrllllll’ and Kim added “This is so good!” Actor Taylor Lautner also seemed impressed simply writing ‘Wow’.

But others have criticised the 25-year-old’s bottle cap attempt, saying it could contribute to ocean pollution.

One fan @simnpleshanofficial wrote “As cool as this is I hope you didn’t let that bottle top sink into the ocean.”

Several others also condemned the stunt for its lack of ocean awareness, despite Jenner adding a ‘cap recovered’ comment.

Did she pick up the cap?

Whether she actually did recover the cap or not, we will probably never know. The wave created by her jet ski would certainly not have made it an easy pick up and her comment that it had been recovered was clearly an afterthought in the video's production.

But it's more than just Jenner that could be criticised here. The entire bottle cap challenge could be called out for promoting wasting plastic at a time when we’re fighting a serious environmental crisis caused by plastic.

At least in Jenner’s video she uses a glass bottle. The same can't be said for most of the 252,000 videos tagged #bottlecapchallenge on Instagram.

As people across the world compete to kick off bottle caps in the most impressive ways, it makes you wonder how many of them also recover and reuse said bottles and bottle caps?

Probably not enough given that the marine environmental organisation Seas At Risk recently reported that plastic caps are among the top five most harmful ocean waste items.

#challengenotaccepted

Bottle caps are one of the top five ocean pollutants. 
Bottle caps are one of the top five ocean pollutants. 

The comments on Jenner’s Instagram video show that ocean awareness is growing. With any luck perhaps it will help call time on this latest social media trend.

Instead of spending time filming ourselves kicking off bottle tops, or sitting around commenting negatively on a reality television star's attempt to do the same, perhaps we would all be better off actually spending some of that time taking steps to reduce our own plastic consumption or maybe taking part in a local beach clean-up.

Indian actor Dia Mirza is one celebrity who won’t be taking up the viral plastic bottle cap challenge. The Bollywood star, who is also a United Nations Environment goodwill ambassador, tweeted her disappointment over the trend.

With over 113 million followers on Instagram and as a role model for many young women perhaps Jenner should give a bit more thought to what she posts on Instagram. And if she, and anybody else, really wants a challenge and a social media hashtag, how about putting the same amount of effort into taking up the #plasticfreechallenge instead?

Updated: July 12, 2019 01:30 PM

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