The water in Mexico is not polluted or unhealthy for people to drink. The problem lies in the distribution of water, which runs from a main source through all the cities and homes for a period of up to two hours a day. The rest of the day, it remains stored in a cistern and a water tank on the roof, and the stored water is their supply for the remainder of the day. Due to long hours of stagnant water in these places, bacteria often grow and sometimes insects collect inside the tanks. For this reason, it is important not to drink water in Mexico from a faucet.
Rural inhabitants of Mexico can drink the water without getting ill, mainly because they have built up a tolerance to it. Many travelers to the region can violently sick 24-48 hours after drinking it though. The sickness caused by drinking the water is called Montezuma’s Revenge. Side effects of drinking the water include: diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, light-headedness, and fever. It is suggested that bottled water be replaced for tap water while in Mexico, even for activities such as brushing your teeth and washing your face.
Historically, places like Mexico City have experienced serious air pollution problems and, ostensibly, water pollution problems as well. This is partly because Mexico City industrialized later than the US, perhaps not taking advantage of “green” production practices that are only recently becoming popular in the US. In recent years, the Mexican capital has gone to great strides to curb this pollution, and in wealthier neighborhood, clean water is less of a problem. However, in poor neighborhoods, although the locals might be immune to whatever pollutants or bacteria might exist in the water, foreign visitors might find themselves feeling sick.
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