In many countries, including many you may like to visit, access to clean drinking water is far from guaranteed. Even brushing your teeth from the wrong source can make a romantic honeymoon unforgettable for all the wrong reasons! Here are some countries in which you should probably think twice before sampling the local water.
Even Ukrainian tourist sites advise against drinking the tap water. Ukraine’s water sources are polluted by industrial and agricultural run-off, and most of their infrastructure dates back to the Soviet era.
Before traveling to The Bahamas, it is recommended that visitors get vaccinated for hepatitis A and typhoid—two illnesses that are easily contracted by drinking Bahamian tap water. Thankfully, most resorts offer bottled water free of charge.
China is home to the world’s largest population, and yet the economic powerhouse still suffers from polluted water sources. According to reports, a staggering 85 percent of the water in the city’s rivers was deemed unfit for consumption in 2015. In Beijing, one of China’s largest cities and a popular tourist destination, almost 40 percent of the water was so dirty that it couldn’t be used for any purpose.
In 2011, researchers at Columbia University reported that only 47 percent of Fiji’s population had access to clean drinking water. Some holiday resorts do offer their own filtration systems for their tap water, but make sure to double-check before you drink from the sink.
Almost every tourist traveling to Mexico has been told to avoid the tap water at all costs. Most Mexicans find the idea of drinking their tap water disgusting. Instead, they buy water in five-gallon jugs called “garrafones” which are delivered to their homes and then recycled. The crisis is so bad that Mexico has become the third largest consumer of bottled water at 8.23 billion gallons.
Despite the country’s vast cultural and gastronomic achievements, most of the population still suffers from polluted water. In fact, the water crisis in India is so bad that over 21 percent of the country’s diseases stem from the water supply.
Water and ice are safe to consume in Buenos Aires and other big cities, but the majority of rural Argentinian areas still lack access to sanitary water. The situation is so dire, in fact, that in 2013, the Matanza River was named one of the 10 dirtiest places on the planet.
The north African country is suffering from a severe water crisis. According to USAID, Morocco suffers from a dwindling water supply, and what they do have is “contaminated and unsuitable for multipurpose use.”
Egypt relies so heavily on so few sources for its water that the United Nations warns that the country could run out of water entirely by 2025. And the few water supplies Egypt does have are severely mistreated – citizens and businesses constantly dump trash into the Nile River, one of the country’s biggest water sources.
The Maldives’ struggles against rising water levels have been well documented, but perhaps less well known is the existence of a man-made garbage island named ‘Thilafushi’, situated just a few miles from the capital city. Thilafushi was originally The Maldives’ “solution” to their rubbish problem, but now it’s polluting the surrounding waters more and more each day.
Taiwan’s water situation isn’t much better than that of their Chinese neighbours. In certain areas of Taiwan, the water contains trace amounts of arsenic that can lead naturally to severe health problems. In big cities like Taipei, restaurants will usually process the water to make it safe for consumption, and most households will boil it to rid of contaminants.
Some countries still have a long way to go to get their drinking water quality up to modern standards, but advancements in filtration mean that any government able to invest can produce clean drinking water for their population.