the 2012 dirty dozen the worlds worst beaches

21 January 2012 09:57:00 AEDT

There are lists of beaches...and then there are lists of beaches. This Top 12 is one your average tourism board does not want to be on. If a discount flight accommodation package comes up to one of these 'gems', maybe give it a wide berth, either that or give it away. chances are you could be up for a lot more than sunburn here, add a nasty dose of diarrhoea or needlestick injury to the list and you will be closer to the mark. So, lets get the travel insurance in order, step behind the glossy brochures and see what menu of ailments you could be up for.

12. Goa, India - What may initially seem a spiritual way to spend your day at the beach quickly turns south on the beaches of Goa. The sacred status of the cow means they are free to roam where they choose. It often gets quite warm on the beaches of Goa and the cows turn to the nearest umbrella on the beach to soak up some shade. As such you can expect to spend some quality time with a few bovine right under your feet. The steaming cow paddies that cover the beach are churned up in the shorebreak to create a truly unique aroma and bathing experience.

11. Port Phillip Bay, Australia - A list of beaches would never be complete without something from Australia, regrettably this list is no exception. Since 2005, alterations to the transport of waste water and storm run off in the area have meant that during fairly regular intervals, heaps of broken glass and used syringes have a nasty habit of washing up on the shore. Lifeguards spend most of their time sifting through the sand for sharps than anything else. This is something you wont see on the 'Loose Yourself in Victoria' ad campaign.

10. Fujiazhuang Beach, China - Take 10,000 beachgoers from China, Korea and Russia, cram them onto an anaemic strip of gravel / sand with a still shoreline, very little tidal movement and one toilet block, what do you get? Fujiazang Beach. This beach also wins the most crowded beach in the world award. Towel space is a premium here so its standing room only for the first 10 metres out into the water. Make sure you keep your mouth and every other orifice tightly closed as you wade out through the effluent.

9. Huntington Beach, California - One of the best beachbreaks in California is also host to a mysterious lottery. Since 1998 at seemingly random intervals, groups of beachgoers come down en mass with bouts of diarrhoea, stomach cramps and night terrors. Local scientists are still scratching their heads to understand exactly what is causing the problem. Your best bet is to roll a set of dice before you go out. 5 or 7 means go for it, anything else only go out if it's really good...snake eyes you loose.

8. Repulse Bay, Hong Kong - Once beautiful Repulse Bay has attracted the wealthy wedge of Hong Kong for generations. Something started to go wrong in the 90's once the territory was handed back to China. Maybe Great Britain cancelled the garbage pick up? Today Repulse Bay is better known as 'Repulsive Bay'. White sand stained grey by everything from human fat from local liposuction clinics to the odd gangster that clearly wasn't keeping up with his gambling repayments. Don't go into the water...just don't go into the water.

7. Doheny State Beach, California - Proud winner for three years in row of the title of most polluted beach in grats? 90 percent of samples taken here exceed the national health standards for exposure to everything from mercury to sewage. If your thinking of going for a surf here best think again.

6. Blackpool Beach, UK - Like wow man, there were 20,000 people on the beach for a Fatboy Slim rave last night it was sooo intense. Yep that's great, check out the beach the day after for a real snapshot of a day on the beach at Blackpool. Broken glass, used syringes, styrofoam cups and half eaten kebabs set the scene. Ambience is further created with a regular spattering of underage teenagers vomiting along the strip with a couple of drug overdose victims being seen to on the side. Ideally not the place to let the kids wander off and build a sandcastle or two.

5. Chowpatty Beach, India - Ever wonder how a city the size of Mumbai manages to clean up all of it's garbage? Many people in Mumbai wonder that too but still seem perplexed why local Chowpatty Beach is constantly cloaked in three feet of plastic waste, newspaper pulp and rotting food scraps. The cities army of garbage workers are totally perplexed, for decades they have been sweeping and stuffing everything into open drains and ditches that the monsoonal rain routinely clears out. The fact that all of that rubbish has managed to find it's way to the local beach is quite a mystery to them apparently.

4. Haina, Dominican Republic - The port of Haina is one of the largest industrial ports in the Caribbean and the local beaches show it. The United Nations recently found it one of the dirtiest industrial zones in the developing world which includes around 80 countries....quite an achievement.

3. Seminyak Beach, Bali - Nice place for dinner, a drink by the pool or even a quite conversation but during the Nov-March timeframe when the prevailing winds are onshore here that's about all you will be doing. Recent building developments and the increased used of fertilisers on the small patches of original farm that are left have conspired to create a truly unique Balinese experience. Do your swimming somewhere else..seriously.

2. Marunda Beach, Jakarta, Indonesia - No one does environmental damage on a scale quite like Indonesia when they really put their mind to it and the beaches around Jakarta are easily some of the most polluted in the world. Marunda Beach takes the cake though. Its location means that eventually all of the garbage from the other beaches eventually meanders its ways here due to winds current and tide, so basically it's like a garbage dump for the other garbage dumps. Don't ever worry about maybe ending up here by mistake though, the smell will make it physically impossible for you to approach within a full kilometre of the water.

1. Odaiba Beach, Tokyo, Japan - Ah Tokyo, where did it all go so wrong. Beaches and waves were once revered in medieval Japanese culture and art. Something changed somewhere for today Odaiba Beach does not only ban swimming but it bans wading also. Many ignore these warnings of course and in doing so sign up for an interesting cocktail of health problems that start with instantaneous itching and usually develop into skin lesions, open blistering, fever and nausea. A little bit of sand in your pants is the least of your problems here.

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