While Southeast Asia is an incredible place to visit and a country that is full of scenery and great experiences there are a few things that you may not have thought about, but most definitely should know, before setting out on your journey to one of the travel destinations found there. One very big factor to consider is the lack of plumbing and very possible contamination of the countries drinking water. We reached out to a fellow travel buddy who also is the owner of a reputable plumbing company to better understand the water contamination issue in Southeast Asia and the lack of what we deem as “normal’ plumbing facilities. Not only is the information we gathered from John beneficial for travel purposes it also can save many from getting incredibly ill and potentially endangering their life and health. Not to mention cutting your travel abroad short because of poor health.
Plumbing & Drinking Water Issues In Southeast Asia
- Open Defecation- An estimated 300 million people defecate in open areas because of the lack of proper plumbing facilities. Fecal matter and other contaminants from human waste eventually make their way into the groundwater and nearby rivers & streams contaminating clean water sources
- Lack of Sewage Treatment Plants- With the rapid growth of population and the lack of sewage treatment facilities or older facilities unable to handle all the waste, sewage disposal can not be handled properly and again finds its way into ponds, rivers, streams, etc.
- Leaking or Misplaced Pipes- often times sewage pipes and water pipes are next to each other and when old or faulty sewage lines leak the contaminants find their way into the neighboring water pipes which then affects drinking water quality.
- Fluoride & Arsenic Contamination- contaminated water is not only linked to sewage contamination but also chemical contamination. Fluoride, Arsenic, manganese, heavy metal, nitrate and iron contamination are all very real things when it comes comes to chemical contamination in drinking water found in many of the countries making up Southeast Asia and should be taken very seriously because of their effects on human health.
- Manufacturing & Processing Industries- Because of the lack of proper plumbing and disposal of industry waste and contaminants often times they are release into the environment and end up in different surrounding bodies of water. This all plays a huge part in the contamination of ground and drinking water
These are just some of the various reasons that water is unsafe to drink and swim in, in many places found throughout Southeast Asia. While many of us are used to the way of life and the plumbing and water systems found in the U.S. or other more developed countries, it is VERY important that you take into consideration not all countries are to those standards. Bottled drinking water is relatively cheap in Southeast Asia so always aim to have some on hand especially when hiking through the jungles and stay clear of bodies of water that you are unsure of. With any type of traveling on the horizon it is also important that you research and get to know as much as possible about the country or countires you are looking to visit. Having a better understanding of their ways, lifestyle and culture will better prepare you for your travels abroad and keep you safe and healthy while doing so.