Republic of Palau becomes world’s first nation to ban reef-killing toxic sunscreen
The Republic of Palau, an archipelago found in the western Pacific Ocean, has become the world’s first nation to ban the use of sunscreens that have been deemed harmful to coral reefs and ocean life. The ban, which will come into force by 2020, has been signed into law by the Palau government. These sunscreens are made from “reef-toxic” chemicals such as oxybenzone, octinoxate and triclosan. These chemicals causes corals to bleach at lower temperatures, and it reduces their resilience to climate change. Palau is home to just 21,000 people but has a booming tourism and fishing industry. It contains approximately 340 islands, forming the western chain of the Caroline Islands in Micronesia, and has an area of 466 square km.