Our reefs are some of the most beautiful and delicate parts of the world. We all love to go on vacation to admire their beauty and the life that lives on them. This incredible ecosystem is however very fragile. Rising temperatures and harmful chemicals that end up in the ocean are bleaching our reefs.
As ambassadors of the underwater world we would like to take this opportunity to help you understand and explain, a couple of easy things that you can do to help us save our reefs!
When on vacation in warm and sunny climates you undeniably need to protect yourself from the sun. However, what you might not realize is that the sun screen you are putting on is damaging our precious reefs.
A lot of sunscreens on the market have the ingredients called oxybenzone
octinoxate in them. When you are wearing sunscreen with this in and enter the water, the chemical will seep into the water. Inevitably it will be absorbed by the corals which leads to coral bleaching. Bleaching is not the only effect this toxic has, it can cause deformities of baby coral and abnormal growth….
Even if you don’t go swimming with your sunscreen on, it will still go down the drain when you shower. When you spray aerosol sunscreen, some will end up on the sand which in turn gets washed into the ocean. According to research, about 14,000 tons of sunscreen end up in our ocean every year.
In July 2018, Hawaii became the first place to ban the sale of sunscreen with oxybenzone and octinoxate. Palau followed suit shortly after and Key West, Florida is about to follow too. Some tour companies in Mexico’s make it mandatory to wear biodegradable sunscreen. If we all do our part we can hopefully save our reefs.
This of course doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear sunscreen and protect yourself.
So what can you do to help our reefs?
One option is to wear sun protective clothing, such as rash guards with SPF. Doing so might not eliminate the need for sunscreen, but you will at least be using about half as much.
The other option is of course to make sure that you buy sunscreen that does not include these 2 ingredients.
Every little helps so be sure you do your part, however big or small, and help us save our reefs!