There's nothing more relaxing and therapeutic than the sound of crashing waves and sand on our feet. This is why beach destinations are at the top of our list whenever we want to get away for a bit of R&R. The peaceful view of the sunrise or sunset, the smell of salty sea wind makes us want to breathe deeper and take it all in. What if instead of that, we smell something a little funky, see floating trash on the water and more washed up on the shore? Our vacation just turned into a nightmare. Here is a list of the ten dirtiest beaches in the world.
10 San Clemente Pier, California, USA
When compared to the rest of the beaches in this list, the San Clemente Pier looks much cleaner. But it's actually one of the dirtiest beaches in the greater Los Angeles area. This beach is located in Orange County and its waters have been identified as the most unclean in the whole area. This report was conducted by a nonprofit organization called Heal the Bay.
They perform tests on ocean water of a beach to trace harmful pathogens in it (fib - fecal indicator bacteria). If you're vacationing on the West Coast, try these beaches that received great marks from Heal the Bay: Natural Bridges State Beach (Santa Cruz), San Simeon Beach, and Carlsbad (San Diego).
9 Haina, Dominican Republic
Haina, or Bajos de Jaina, is a coastal town in the Dominican Republic. The southwestern part of Haina faces the Caribbean Sea and it's really surprising to have one of the Caribbean islands be included in this list. But alas, the town's major industry is lead smelting and that has played a huge part in contaminating the waters of Haina. Also called the Dominican Chernobyl, it would be a major leap and would require total cooperation to turn the beaches at Haina around, not to mention years of hard work. It is sad to learn that such a beautiful island country has a dark spot in its waters.
8 Serendipity Beach, Cambodia
The town of Sihanoukville is located in the southeast Asian country called Cambodia. Angkor Wat is the most popular tourist spot in Cambodia, and they also have other cultural and historical sights. The southwestern part of the country is also a good beach vacation spot as it faces the waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Sihanoukville is perhaps the most popular town to go to if a tourist wants to enjoy the beaches of Cambodia. But try to avoid Serendipity Beach. This beach is riddled with trash and plastic waste swimming in the water and lying on the shore. There are other cleaner beaches in the area, like Independence Beach and Otres Beach.
7 Guanabara Bay, Brazil
We only hope that the beaches at Guanabara Bay in Rio De Janeiro are cleaner now since the global news of it filthiness spread prior to the 2016 Olympics. Brazil is a beautiful country with the friendliest and happiest people, so it's unlike them to let a beach get to where Guanabara Bay got to.
These waters are dirty, polluted with trash of all types, shape and color, and contaminated with a petri dish full of sample bacteria. No self-respecting Olympian would have dared dip their little pinky toes in these waters. Their government promised a clean-up back in 2016, but no recent cleaner pictures are seen of today's Guanabara Bay beaches.
6 Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Malaysia is an Asian country that looks like an extension of Thailand. It stretches further south and ends at Singapore. It skips the water, then extends its territory to the next island to the right, and shares it this time with Indonesia in the south. Malaysia is an island country surrounded by the ocean. There are countless beaches here, for sure, and that also means little coastal towns, big coastal commercial areas, uninhabited beaches, and a lot of pretty things. But there's nothing pretty about the situation on the beaches of Kota Kinabalu, a coastal town in northeast Malaysia, where trash or marine debris is a big problem.
5 Juhu Beach, India
One of the dirtiest beaches in the world is located in India, a country rich in culture and people.
This is one of the biggest countries in Asia, land area and population-wise. It's so big that even a whole ocean was named after it, and its coastal territory faces three different seas: Arabian Sea, Laccadive Sea, and the Bay of Bengal. Juhu Beach of Mumbai is enjoying the Arabian Sea, but the people can not enjoy Juhu Beach as a swimming destination. It's been overrun by trash, instead of sand on the shore it's trash. Still, locals like it. Let's just hope they like it enough to finally clean it up one day.
4 Kuta Beach, Indonesia
Indonesia is another Southeast Asian country on this list of dirtiest beaches. It's the southern neighbor of Malaysia. Bali is a popular tourist city in Indonesia, it is filled with gorgeous beaches and blue waters. There is a beach here that is dangerously getting polluted to a point where it can no longer be saved. Locals say that the trash comes from everywhere else, especially during the months when the water current is strong and the winds help carry the trash to the shores of Kuta Beach. This explanation also sounds like trash, they may be right but that doesn't mean they can't do anything about it.
3 Kamilo Beach, Hawaii, USA
This group of islands in the North Pacific is so beautiful America can't forget it and can't let go. A state that's thousands of miles away from North America, Hawaii is enchanting and really one of a kind.
But trash, marine debris, and all kinds of pollution somehow found its way and said aloha to one of the beaches in Hawaii. The worst images of Kamilo Beach don’t look like that of the beach anymore, it looks like a landfill. This beach is located south of the Big Island and it's just shocking to see how much trash is thrown in the ocean.
2 Maya Bay, Thailand
Maya Bay is being healed as we read this article. It's been closed for more than a year and will remain closed until the better part of 2021. This may just be the most beautiful beach on this list, and definitely the most popular. This was partly the fault of Leo DiCaprio and Danny Boyle. Danny Boyle directed the film The Beach and had Leonardo DiCaprio starred in it. The beach, which was portrayed as "THE beach" in the movie was actually Thailand's Maya Bay. It is truly a paradise. But since that film's release, tourists came in the hundreds, then thousands, until the visitors left more trash than the locals could take out.
1 Phu Quoc, Vietnam
This country rounds up the list of Southeast Asian countries with at least one dirty beach. Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Vietnam is a country located between Thailand and Malaysia. It is surrounded by the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. One island west of Ho Chi Minh City is also surrounded with rubbish, Phu Quoc. In most pictures, the beaches here are immaculate, but if we search further we'll see how all of them have some level of trash hidden someplace away from the wandering tourist. Some places are worse than others, but we can't say there's zero trash on even a single beach.