Palau first country to ban sunscreen to protect Coral Reefs

The Pacific Island, Palau has become the first country to ban sun cream that is harmful to corals. The country has banned common ingredients used in cosmetics including oxybenzone.

Highlights

The order of the ban was passed in 2018. However, it comes into effect from January 1, 2020. The Rock Islands in the Palau is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The country has banned 10 ingredients that harm coral reefs. It includes oxybenzone, ethyl paraben, Octinoxate, Butyl paraben, Octocrylene, methyl benzylidene camphor, triclosan, benzyl paraben, methyl paraben, phenoxyethanol

Following Palau, other states such as Hawaii in US has also introduced such bans. The Hawaii ban comes into effect from 2021. The other states that have introduced such ban includes US Virgin Islands, Dutch Carribean Islands.

Though, it is a good start, the ban has to spread globally rather than pertaining locally.

How are sun creams harmful to corals?

The sun creams absorb UV radiations and make corals susceptible to bleaching. It is estimated that around 6 to 14,000 tons of sunscreen are washed into reefs annually.

Why Palau?

Palau is made of large volcanic islands and small coral reefs. The country has taken several climatic steps despite of its size. Palau was the second nation to ratify Paris climate agreement after Fiji.

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