Seaside settings of sun, sand and surf are often considered a thing of beauty. But the ugly truth is that some of the world’s beaches are blech. These formerly scenic coastlines are now strewn with garbage, contaminated by sewage, overwrought by algae blooms or vexed by a host of environmental concerns. If you’re not careful, a fun family outing at the ocean can be hazardous to your health. Here are 12 dirty beaches to avoid like the plague.
1. Goa, India
The fabled beaches of Goa draw more than 2.5 million tourists to West India each year. While the cliched hippie backpacker may make you think this is a “green” destination, the fact is this coastal environment is a victim of its own popularity. Litter, broken beer bottles, burning plastic, mining runoff and sewage from nearby hotels are sullying this once pristine area. The free-roaming cows aren’t helping matters, either. These bovines may be sacred, but their feces are contaminating the water and threatening human health. The beaches within this former Portuguese territory are now ranked amongst the world’s dirtiest.