The Pacific nation of Palau has become the first nation in the world to prohibit the use of sun cream that is harmful to the vulnerable sea life and corals.
In November 2018, the government of Palau signed a law that prohibited the sale and use of sunscreens that contained ten chemicals that are toxic to marine life. This includes Oxybenzone and Octinoxate, two chemicals that, studies have shown, have a particularly detrimental impact on sea life.
Research has demonstrated that Oxybenzone is toxic to various coral species and could significantly hamper the growth of baby corals.
When people use sun creams and then take a dip into the oceans, the creams wash off into reef areas, threatening marine life.
Post the ban, Palau’s President Tommy Remengesau said, “We have to live and respect the environment because the environment is the nest of life.”
“Toxic sunscreen chemicals have been found throughout Palau’s critical habitats, and in the tissues of our most famous creatures.
“We don’t mind being the first nation to ban these chemicals, and we will do our part to spread the word.”
Palau is located in the western part of the Pacific ocean and is visited by thousands of tourists each year. It is also known as a ‘pristine paradise’ for divers. The nation is also extremely environmentally-conscious and became the only second nation after Fiji to ratify the Paris climate accord in 2016.
Several other nations across the world have introduced legislation to ban the use of sunscreens. For instance, the U.S Virgin Islands will see the law take effect in March this year. Meanwhile, Mexico has prohibited sunscreens in nature reserves.
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