Between Japan and Australia lies the paradise of divers, the island of Palau. Crystalline waters and coral reefs attract hundreds of thousands of tourists every year to the country, which has just over 20,000 inhabitants.
The government believes that the popularity of tourist destinations harms nature – and especially coral reefs.
One of the bears is the sunscreens, according to the Palaus government. A law that will begin in 2020 prohibits all sales of sunscreens containing chemicals stamped as coral reefs. Tourists can expect banned creams to be seized, while sellers can risk up to SEK 9,000 in fines.
"Plastic waste, chemical pollution, climate change and overuse of resources continue to threaten our paradise," wrote Palaus President Tommy E. Remengesau in a commentary on the amendment.
When infested bathers enter the water, the sunscreen is slowly washed. Every year about 14,000 tons of sunscreen are estimated in the garden, and some researchers believe that chemicals can cause coral rejuvenation or even kill them.
A quarter of all marine life is associated with coral reefs – which play an important role in the ecosystem.
The ban on sunscreens had already been on the wallpaper in the Indian Ocean and Great Barrier Reef Australia. But a change in law will not save coral reefs, according to Michael Tedengren, an associate professor in the Department of Ecology, Environment and Botany at Stockholm University.
If you are talking about tourists who are bathing then they are extremely low levels. It's much worse if everyone pees in the water. Eutrophication would be a much bigger problem than the possible sunscreen they use, "he told TT.
But people affected by coral reefs have no doubts, according to Tedengren. It turns out that tourists trample them, break pieces, catch corals and feed fish.
The big problem is people on coral reefs. There is a lot of crazy that they think. Sunscreen on the skin is perhaps the smallest problem actually.