One of the chief concerns of many prospective visitors to India is whether the water is safe to drink. Tap water is best avoided, even though locals happily gulp it down, but many hotels and restaurants have modern filtration systems that remove most of the risks. Bottled water, available in all but the most remote places, is an even safer bet, though it has a major drawback – namely the plastic pollution it causes. Visualize the size of the pile you’d leave behind you after getting through a couple of bottles per day, imagine that multiplied by millions and you have something along the lines of the amount of non-biodegradable landfill waste generated each year by tourists alone.

The best solution as regards your health and the environment is to purify your own water. Chemical sterilization using chlorine is completely effective, fast and inexpensive, and you can remove the nasty taste it leaves with neutralizing tablets or lemon juice.

Alternatively, invest in some kind of purifying filter incorporating chemical sterilization to kill even the smallest viruses. An ever-increasing range of compact, lightweight products are available these days through outdoor shops and large pharmacies, but pregnant women or anyone with thyroid problems should check that iodine isn’t used as the chemical sterilizer.

Essentials

Everything you need to know before you set off.

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