The Palau Archipelago is banning sunscreen on its islands. This is a significant step forward for coral reefs and marine biodiversity protection.
Located in the eastern Philippines, the small state adopted last week a measure to forbid the use of certain solar products dangerous for coral. The goal is to preserve the seabed which makes the international reputation of the archipelago.
By July 1, 2020, the law will be banning on Palau beaches the use of sun creams containing one of ten toxic substances, such as benzophenone or oxybenzone. Nearly 70% of those on the market are targeted. Businesses that do not respect the measure will have to pay a $1000 fine. Tourists who bring their own products will have them confiscated.
According to studies, nearly 25% of the sunscreen used dilutes with water after 20 minutes. Some of their chemical components contribute to coral reef bleaching. They damage the zooxanthellae dangerously, algae on which coral depends to get all their nutriments. Without this symbiosis, they would be dangerously weakened.
Protect Marine Ecosystems
The Palau Archipelago is a popular tourist destination for its marine ecosystems. The state’s economy depends almost entirely upon it. According to President Tommy E. Remengesau, the measure adopted will contribute to its preservation. “The structures, or reefs, they form protect coastlines from waves and provide habitat for an incredibly diverse array of marine life,” recalls the San Francisco Chronicle.
Pressure from human activities threatens nearly 60% of coral reefs worldwide. Although Palau will be the First Nation to adopt this measure in 2020, some of the beaches in Mexico or Florida have already started to apply the policy. The state of Hawaii has also passed a law to follow Palau’s initiative by 2021.
For more information about eco-friendly sun creams: https://bit.ly/2z6vmjl