The Ganges River, India
The Ganges is a sacred place. Local people have long believed that to bathe in its waters is to be cleansed from all sin. Taking a dip here is not uncommon. But those thinking about swimming in the river are taking a great risk.
It might be renowned for cleansing sins, but the truth is that India’s great waterway is polluted and dirty. Some 300 million litres of untreated domestic sewage are emptied into the river each day, whilst industrial waste and the corpses of those whose impoverished families are unable to afford a funeral are also dumped in the murky depths.
The result is a breeding ground for illness and disease and, whilst local people continue to bathe here, hepatitis, dysentery, typhoid and cholera are amongst the risks posed. It might be a sacred place, but the Ganges is hazardous to health and best avoided at all costs.