Palau becomes 1st country to ban sunscreens toxic to coral reef – National


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WELLINGTON, New Zealand – In an try to guard the coral reefs that divers so admire they’ve dubbed them the underwater Serengeti, the Pacific nation of Palau will quickly ban many kinds of sunscreen.

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President Tommy Remengesau Jr. final week signed laws that bans “reef-toxic” sunscreen from 2020. Banned sunscreens shall be confiscated from vacationers who carry them into the nation, and retailers promoting the banned merchandise shall be fined as much as $1,000.

Remengesau mentioned in a press release that the penalties discover the appropriate stability between “educating vacationers and scaring them away.”

WATCH: Footage exhibits Nice Barrier Reef’s coral bleaching

The regulation defines reef-toxic sunscreen as containing any one among 10 chemical substances, together with oxybenzone, and states that different chemical substances may additionally be banned.

The laws additionally requires tour operators to start out offering prospects with reusable cups, straws and meals containers.

Remengesau mentioned an enormous impetus for the ban was a 2017 report which discovered that sunscreen merchandise had been widespread in Palau’s famed Jellyfish Lake, which was closed for greater than a yr as a consequence of declining jellyfish numbers earlier than being lately reopened.

The coral reef off of Samoan island is dying off, scientists say

The president famous legislative findings that “plastic waste, chemical air pollution, useful resource overconsumption, and local weather change all proceed to threaten the well being of our pristine paradise.”

Palau’s ban comes after Hawaii in July banned the sale of sunscreen containing the chemical substances oxybenzone and octinoxate from 2021 in an try to guard its reefs. In Hawaii, nonetheless, vacationers will nonetheless be capable to carry the banned sunscreen with them into the state or purchase it there if they’ve a physician’s prescription.

WATCH: Hawaii governor indicators invoice banning some sunscreens dangerous to coral reefs

Scientists have discovered that some chemical substances in sunscreen will be poisonous to coral reefs, that are a significant a part of the ocean ecosystem in addition to a preferred draw for vacationers. However some critics say there aren’t sufficient unbiased scientific research on the difficulty whereas others fear that individuals will undergo from an excessive amount of solar publicity in the event that they cease utilizing the merchandise.

Some producers, in the meantime, have already began promoting “reef-friendly” sunscreen.

Palau, situated east of the Philippines and north of Indonesia, is residence to 21,000 individuals and has an economic system that depends on tourism and fishing. It has a compact of free affiliation with the U.S.

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