The main points of this article
The water in Indian public pools is only changed a few times a year. It is never changed when dead rats are found in it.
They never tell you how many pool-goers catch serious diseases as the chlorine levels are often too low when the pool is crowded or when the voltage fluctuates in the chlorine salt pools.
The pool's "filters" do not actually filter the water: they only sanitize it to some extent by killing bacteria, so you swim in a toxic soup of dead bacteria. Chlorine does not kill most viruses, Protozoa, Helminths, Ammonium, Cryptosporidium, etc.
The filters's capacity is too low to filter the pool's water: they only take out large particles (which makes the water transparent) and dilute the pool's dirty water with a little partially filtered water.
All users occasionally sweat, sneeze, spit, pee and poo in the pool. The chemical reactions between these, cosmetics, sunscreens and chlorine create substances 10000 times more toxic than the chlorine itself. Your skin and your hair absorbs all this, you occasionally swallow the pool water, and inhale huge amounts of chlorine.
19% of drowning deaths in the US involving children occur with certified lifeguards present: there often are simply too many pool users per lifeguard, which is most often the case in India.
The pool, due to the variations in depth and other factors, is less safe and less convenient for a learner swimmer than a shallow, calm beach
Learning how to swim in the pool will not help you avoid drowning in the sea
The crowded Indian pool is not a suitable place for those women who want to avoid being ogled at or touched by men there.
Why do people go to swimming pools?
The summer approaching, both adults and children, often sent away by their parents to "swimming camps", are trying to cool down in every possible way. Well, is it just the scorching sun that drives people to swimming pools? The pool has become quite a modern status symbol. Cannot swim? No problem, just stand and soak there. While the Indian middle class hurry to the crowded public swimming pools that are often found at upscale hotels, the well-to-do Indians can afford to have a private swimming pool that could be cleaner - if only slightly.
Aren't filters supposed to filter everything bad out?
If you're a hotel or athletic club, protecting yourself from a lawsuit "is not always about doing the right thing, but rather about doing the typical thing." Sadly, what's typical in this age of antibacterial soap, is pathological biophobiathat, for example, lead to 30% of all younger generations Germans being diagnosed with allergies. People regard the ocean with a certain amount of awe mixed with fear as they don't have the skills to handle it.
- Some facilities advertise "saltwater" pools. However, saltwater pools are not, in fact, chlorine-free. Do you remember the formula for salt? Sodium chloride. As we all know, salt dissolves in water. It dissolves because it separates into sodium and chloride. The chlorine liquid or tablets commonly used in conventional chlorination are the same thing saltwater pool systems generate from salt. The chlorine level in a saltwater pools is kept at 2-3 ppm. This is the same amount as is recommended for a regular pool. Why then do saltwater pools smell less and feel better? It's not, as some would have you believe, because the chlorine in public pools is kept at higher levels. It's because in conventional pools, the chlorine level often falls too low. If free chlorine levels are kept at 1 ppm or more, chloramines do not build up. If levels drop too low, however, it takes a "shock treatment" to correct the problem. A "shock" is a kind of deep cleaning. A mega dose of chlorine is commonly used. You're basically "dropping a bomb" and killing everything. Shocks are only necessary in big pools where it's not feasible, as it is with a hot tub, to simply change the water. Since shock treatments create chlorine levels considered unsafe even by
conventional standards, you have to wait for levels to come back down
through evaporation. Rather than have to wait, people often don't use a
strong enough dose. They routinely add too little chlorine to the shock treatment, and this actually makes the problem worse. Apparently, with saltwater treatment, chlorine levels are more easily
maintained at sufficient levels to prevent chloramine formation. There
are other advantages to saltwater filtration as well: the pH is kept
near neutral and
the water is softer (less calcium). However, the same additional
chemicals that are usually incorporated into chlorine tablets may still need to be added separately Pools that use chlorine tablets (tri chlor), and pools that use salt
(sodium chloride) are very similar. The first thing to understand is
that both use chlorine. Both systems require sodium bicarbonate, calcium
chloride, and muriatic acid to make chemistry adjustments. Salt
chlorine systems require the addition of stabilizer (cyanuric acid) and
salt which tablet pools do not. Stabilizer holds chlorine in the water.
Chlorine tablets have this chemical in them already.
- The salt never leaves your pool by evaporation NOR is it ever used up. You would NEVER want this level of cyanuric acid in your pool. Obviously
this retailer has been misinformed by the propaganda laid out by the
chemical companies. Yes, cyanuric acid helps in SMALL quantities. But as
cyanuric acid increases, the effectiveness of chlorine decreases, which
in turn requires more chlorine to achieve the desired effect. The
tablets (unfortunately) contain MORE cyanuric acid, which now puts us in
a dangerous cycle of adding more cyanuric acid with each tablet... and
having to add more chlorine to keep up with the increased levels of
chlorine. The chemical companies do not tell you this as it translates
to more profits for them.
- More filtration time and a little less chemicals? You would pay for it with electricity. Chlorine tablets cannot and will not suffice for large pools with high
bather loads the average tablet will only sanitize 10,000 liters. The UV lights also lose there effectiveness after around 7 months.
- Contrary to popular belief, bromine, with just as many "disinfection byproducts" as chlorine, can be just as problematic. For one, it interferes with thyroid function. Ozone or UV treatment systems are far healthier but are pretty expensive.
- All of the above "purification" systems only "sanitize" the water. They kill stuff. They don't remove contaminants. That's typically done with filtration. The question is the rate of filtration vs. the rate of contamination.
If people get the pool dirty faster than you can clean it, you have a
problem. Again, it may just be a matter of building a bigger and more powerful system.
- On an average, around 150 people visited Sampourna daily, and on weekends the figure touches 400 a day
- Somehow people prefer to imagine that a swimming pool is a pipe through which a current of clean water enters at one end and the dirty water exits through the other end. You can use carbon filters, but if you want to achieve a high rate of filtration, the water cannot be circulated fast, and you will have to change the filter very often.
- Chlorine does not kill most viruses, most Protozoa, Helminths, Ammonium. Besides, Cryptosporidium (or Crypto), is an extremely chlorine-tolerant parasite that can survive in a properly chlorinated pool for 3.5–10.6 days.
- Escherichia coli, a fecal indicator was found in 58% of pool samples in the US, the CDC informed. Fecal material (poop material) can get into a pool during a formed or diarrheal fecal incident in the water or washing off of swimmers bodies. In other words, pool water can become contaminated if people don't shower beforehand or poop while in the pool.
- With most outdoor pools, chlorine concentrations at the surface are usually low because environmental breezes whisk the contaminant away and replace it with "fresh" air. However, when outdoor pool sides are high, the atmosphere is heavy with moisture, and there is no breeze, dangerous atmospheric chlorine conditions can be produced. The atmosphere acts as a "blanket" that holds the escaping chlorine down at the surface where swimmers breathe. That results in hyper-chlorination in outdoor pools. This condition happens quite frequently, particularly early in the morning when "serious" swimmers are training.
- Alternative water treatments (e.g., ozone, bromine, ultra-violet light) have usually relied on a single chemical treatment. That focus on using one agent could be a limitation for devising an adequate substitute for the hyperchlorination of heavily used pools. The associated amount of combined chlorine was much lower when disinfection was by ozone/chlorine. This produced more acceptable bathing conditions (Wyatt & Wilson, 1979). Ozonation allows markedly reduced levels of chlorine in pool water.
- Unlike the sea, the pool has no microorganisms to consume both organic and inorganic pollutants. Another distinction is how differently the dirty water is merely diluted with the cleaner or "filtered" water. Everybody understands how quickly very small quantities of the polluted water on the beach are very quickly diluted by the huge mass of the ocean water. What happens in a swimming pool, however, is a totally different story, where very small quantities of the "filtered" water are thrown back into the dirty water.
Learning to swim in most swimming pools can be either dangerous or problematic for certain reasons.
- First, the depth of most pools sharply increases in some areas, and the bottom is extremely slippery.
- Secondly, the areas of uniform optimum depth suitable for a learner of a particular height, which is usually at chest level, is actually very small in most pools.
- The bad habits of grabbing the ropes or the edges of the pool stands in the way of developing proper swimming habits and gaining confidence.
- And the buoyancy of the water in the pool is much lower than the buoyancy of the seawater.
Aren't swimming pools a safer place than the ocean?
- In the USA, if you both own a gun and have a swimming pool in the backyard, the
swimming pool is about 100 times more likely to kill a child under 10 than the
gun is. Public attitudes towards pools are much more cavalier because people simply do not know the facts.
- In the US, 58% nonfatal (3,341 cases, many of which end up with very serious permanent injuries) and 17% (683) fatal drownings take place in swimming pools every year, while just 7% of nonfatal cases (412) happen in the ocean. There are 1 to
4 nonfatal submersions serious enough to result in hospitalization.
An estimated 5,000 children ages 14 and under are hospitalized
due to unintentional drowning-related incidents each year; 15
percent die in the hospital and as many as 20 percent suffer severe,
permanent neurological disability. In the United States in 2009, there were approximately 301 million swimming (not merely "bathing") visits each year by persons over the age of six, and there are an average of 3,868 unintentional drowning deaths per year.
- Compare it with Tamil Nadu, with its 1,837 drowning deaths in 2011. We do occasionally hear about cases like the one at a Dubai villa where playback singer KS Chithra's eight-year-old daughter Nandana died after falling into it. Extremely few pools have isolation fences around them, and still fewer lifeguards. There are 10.4 million residential swimming pools in the United States where, in 1997 alone, 550 children under the age of 10 drowned. There are also 309,000 public swimming pools there where 19% of drowning deaths involving children occur with certified lifeguards present. How well do Indian lifeguards monitor swimming pools in India is anybody's guess.
- People like to believe that being able to swim in a pool somehow increases their chances of survival outside it. In the US, only 50% of fatal drownings occur in natural bodies of water. Of course, we do occasionally read stories like the one about the two NRI doctors who recently drowned off the coast in Tenerife. The Indian doctors tried to rescue their children who had been swept out to sea by a freak wave that hit the rock on which they were playing. The children were eventually rescued by a German -not by an Indian, of course - tourist who could swim very well in the ocean. After all, swimming classes are compulsory in Germany.
- As long as it is mostly Europeans, Americans or Australians who continue to swim on the ocean beaches, the media will regularly keep informing us about incidents like the recent one when almost 300 Korean schoolchildren drowned after a ferry sank on its way to a holiday island of Jeju. Almost 300 mostly schoolchildren, most of whom had learnt to swim in a swimming pool, died. Had they learnt to swim in rough ocean, they could have easily survived.