Want to avoid stepping into the water on a beach because you think the water is dirty and laden with bacteria?
If you think so, you're not alone. Many cleanliness freaks all over the world think they're doing themselves a favour by preferring to spread their towel in a quiet, sunny corner in the warm sand instead of splashing around gleefully in the dirty water like their silly friends.
Well, the water is NOT the germiest place on the beach.
NO? You'll be shocked to know what the dirtiest place on a beach actually is!
According to researchers who examined sand and sea water from the beaches of Hawaii, the pristine looking sand has 10-100 times higher bacteria content than the water.
That is completely opposite to what we've been thinking all the time.
The sand, confirmed the scientists, is the ickiest part of the beach since it contains a much higher concentration of faecal bacteria than the seemingly dirty water. Beach goers are often dissuaded from taking to the waters when the level of fecal contaminated bacteria is found to be high. Without ever considering that the sand which gives the bacteria a dark, moist environment and the ideal conditions for growth could be dirtier.
While health experts check the water in rivers and seas regularly for the presence of illness-causing bacteria, they do not carry out such tests on sand.
"Beach goers should be aware of the health implications of contaminated beach sand, and should not assume that sand is always safe," Tao Yan, the lead researcher, explained to Health. The findings of Yan and his team have been published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
When these researchers studied samples collected from Hawaii (both sand and seawater), they noticed that the decay process of harmful bacteria usually found in such places was much slower in the sand than in water, causing the sand to be a germier place than seawater.
So does that mean that we should quit going to the beach altogether?
We need not, pointed out the scientists. Go to the beach. Lie around in the sand or frolic in the water but not without taking the necessary precautions.