Palau has banned sunscreens harmful to coral reefs

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Palau has banned sunscreens harmful to coral reefs

January 03, 2020 - 11:56
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Palau has become the first country to ban sun cream that is harmful to corals and sea life.

The harmful effects of chemical sunscreen on corals are well documented by scientists around the world

Sunscreens and lLotions that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals believed to cause damage to coral reefs, are no longer allowed to be worn or sold in the country.

The legislation to ban certain sunscreens and skin-care products came into effect on January 1 and is part of Palau's new Responsible Tourism Education Act. The new law expanded on Palau's earlier move to ban chemical sunscreens from one of its main tourist hubs, Jellyfish Lake. It is also one of the latest moves by Palau to protect the environment.

Stores in Palau caught selling sunscreen could be fined up to $1,000 while sunscreen bottled with oxybenzone and octinoxate will be confiscated from tourists. Sunscreens without the chemicals or any of the other banned substances are allowed.

President Tommy Remengesau said the move was to ensure visitors and tourists "become part of the solution to the environmental challenges in our pristine paradise," according to the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) website.

"When science tells us that a practice is damaging to coral reefs, to fish populations, or to the ocean itself, our people take note and our visitors do too," Mr Remengesau told the AFP news agency.

Toxic sunscreen chemicals have been found throughout Palau's critical habitats, and in the tissues of our most famous creatures.

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