How Do Other Cultures View the Cleanliness of Water?

    Published: June 17, 2016

    How Do Other Cultures View the Cleanliness of Water?

    Water is the most valuable resource on the planet. Developed countries range greatly in the perceived cleanliness of the tap water available to the citizens that live there – in many countries, tap water is considered pristine, while in others there is a longstanding belief that the tap water is only safe for watering plants.

    Worse still, in many developing countries the citizens don’t have access to tap water, and must struggle daily to acquire drinking water from unclean or unpurified sources. The cleanliness of water in any culture has a huge impact on how people live their day-to-day lives.

    In America, public awareness of the contaminants in drinking water has reached an all time high. More families than ever before utilize a water filter or filtration system in their home to remove contaminants and impurities before consuming water from the tap.

    The assumed cleanliness of the water in our country varies by region – in some cities like New York, the water quality reports prove that the water is safe to drink, and many people will gulp water directly from the faucet. America is unique in that nearly every municipality issues a comprehensive water report so the residents of that area can easily access concrete information about their water cleanliness.

    In other parts of the world, the cultural fixation on hygiene is less intense. Some societies are less actively concerned about the cleanliness of their water, in part because they’ve always had access to clean drinking water.

    Norway, for example, has multiple programs in place to monitor the water systems in the country and assure that the ground water does not become contaminated with runoff. This makes the purifying process of their water sources easier, so that families are receiving fresh and clean drinking water without worry.

    The source of the water in countries also affects how clean the water supply is, which also affects how the cleanliness of that water is perceived. Luxembourg obtains its drinking water almost exclusively from contained springs, where contamination is less likely.

    American cities get water from lakes, rivers, snowpack, reservoirs, and even in the ocean in areas where desalination plants are used, and the variation in cleanliness creates a heightened awareness culturally.

    In France wasting water is culturally frowned upon, and overusing tap water is scarce. The plumbing costs are more expensive. Culturally, it’s out of the ordinary to shower every day in France. Water filters aren’t as common, but the citizens are aware of the potential impurities within.

    In other parts of the world, clean water is nowhere to be found. More than 840,000 people die each year due to water-related disease. In parts of Africa and Asia public sewage is discharged into lakes and rivers without treatment, making water treatment incredibly difficult if not impossible. In these countries, finding clean water is the main day-to-day objective of the citizens.

    Compared to less fortunate areas of the world we are incredibly lucky to have the resources necessary to purify our water and remove contaminants easily. Many water treatment facilities do what they can to purify tap water by adding fluoride and chlorine. Ensure you and your family are drinking safer water by adding a layer of protection you can install a whole house filter to further remove any impurities.