Palau is a popular island east of the Philippines, and the first country to ban toxic sunscreens. This will come into action 2020, however they have already banned it from their most popular tourist spots, such as Jellyfish Lake.
The toxic sunscreens cause significant damage to the corals, fish and other sea creatures. Studies have shown that even the smallest amount of sunscreen that obtains oxybenzone (which is found in most sunscreens) can break down coral, bleaching it which then causes it to die.
Although, Medical professionals are concerned that these bans would increase the chance of skin cancer. So what options do you have? To start with there are a variety of Natural and Organic Sunscreens that still protect your skin to the highest level and have no impact on the reef. Covering up more is another solution, wearing a rash vest and board shorts.
The Palau Government have stated that 11 to 18 litres of new toxic sunscreens are introduced to its waters every day. After the ban takes place, no stores on Palau will sell toxic sunscreen and bottles will be seized from visitors when they enter the country.
This a small step for a big change for the rest of the world. If we want our reefs to still be there in years’ time, switch to a reef friendly sunscreen.