So, you have just accomplished the big move! New country, new lifestyle, lots of new sights, sounds, and smells, a new culture to explore, and all of this in incredible India – what fun! A move to India, especially from a western country, can be an interesting and eventful one.
It is really helpful to have a local contact of a friend to hold your hand through the process. However, while bigger logistical issues like stay, work, finances etc occupy our mind, we often tend to take for granted the importance of preparing ourselves adequately for basics such as food and water in the new country of residence.
Surely you have given lots of thought to food. After all, India’s cuisine is famous for its exotic spices and fiery flavors. You have staked out all the local eateries, and are even willing to brave the street food stalls, and risk the infamous Delhi belly!
However, have you paid adequate thought to water? After all, food poisoning is rarely about food, but about the water-borne contaminants in food! From where is your drinking water sourced? Is it clean and clear? Does it taste and smell neutral? Is it treated and stored properly?
Like all warm and humid countries in the tropics and subtropics, India’s unique climatic profile presents a very specific set of contamination risks. Unclean, microbe-infested water carries a host of deadly diseases, including cholera, typhoid, and leptospirosis.
According to Wikipedia, as per the World Health Organization, such diseases account for an estimated 3.6% of the total DALY global burden of disease and cause about 1.5 million human deaths annually. The World Health Organization estimates that 58% of that burden, or 842,000 deaths per year, is attributable to unsafe water supply, sanitation, and hygiene.
Apart from this, National Center For Biotechnology Information has stated that water can also contain several inorganic contaminants, such as lead, heavy metals, pesticides and chemical fertilizers, as well as industrial run-offs. Fluoride is a common major contaminant, and high levels of fluoride are associated with a host of long-term health condition.
Nevertheless, do bear in mind that most villages, towns, and cities in India, water are supplied by the local municipal board, which reaches the end user after due filtration and treatment. However, it is still fairly common in India for drinking water to be sourced directly from wells, bore wells or, in the case of villages, from fresh water ponds.
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In these cases, it becomes necessary to ensure that such water is adequately purified. A common method of water purification in India is boiling. While this is very effective in killing microbes, this method still won’t suffice to filter out chemical contaminants and other dissolved impurities.
The first thing you should do is see if the water you consume is treated through the reverse osmosis filtration process. This highly effective filtration proves is gaining a lot of traction in India, and many households are seeing the benefit of installing a home-based RO system.
Once you have access to such purified water, you might do well to carry water with you everywhere, rather than depend on water that might have doubtful levels of purity, in case you don’t find packaged water.
Ensure that the overhead tank where you are staying is frequently cleaned, and maintained in a covered and hygienic manner. Also, ensure that vessels and water containers in your residence are frequently washed and dried.
Clean your bottles with standard dish soap, or if you prefer to stick to natural products, clean them out with baking soda and vinegar for a germ-free cleansing.
But most of all, remember that water is not just what you drink! You might be consuming contaminated water through many indirect sources, such as uncooked food, cold dips, and chutneys, as well as in the form of contaminated ice cubes in your drink!
Just keep a few of these tips in mind, get an RO Water Purifier for your home and you will in no time navigate India just as well as a pro!