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Govt bans coral-damaging sunscreens

BANGKOK: The Thai government this week banned sunscreens containing chemicals that damage coral reefs in marine national parks.

tourismenvironmentpollution
By AFP

Saturday 7 August 2021, 03:04PM


Scuba divers look at a coral bed at Koh Tao island in the southern province of Surat Thani on July 16, 2020. Three islands have reopened to vaccinated foreign visitors as part of a quarantine relaxation experiment that the kingdom hopes will help revive its battered tourism industry. Photo: AFP / file

Scuba divers look at a coral bed at Koh Tao island in the southern province of Surat Thani on July 16, 2020. Three islands have reopened to vaccinated foreign visitors as part of a quarantine relaxation experiment that the kingdom hopes will help revive its battered tourism industry. Photo: AFP / file

The country’s sandy beaches have long been popular destinations for millions of tourists, but concerns are growing that the lotions they use as protection from the tropical sun are harming delicate, slow-growing corals.

An order came into force on Wednesday (Aug 4) banning lotions containing oxybenzone, octinoxate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor or butylparaben from marine national parks.

The announcement said the science showed the chemicals “deteriorate coral reefs, destroy coral larvae, obstruct their reproductive system and cause coral reef bleaching”.

Thailand follows the Pacific island of Palau and the US state of Hawaii which have already imposed similar bans.

Violators face a fine of up to B100,000 – although officials have not said how they plan to enforce the ban.

The key tourism sector has been devastated by the pandemic as the government imposed tough entry restrictions as part of efforts to curb the virus.

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JohnC | 09 August 2021 - 09:14:37

They could save a lot more coral if they cracked down on the speedboats that continually drop their anchors on reefs and fishing boats that drop their nets too close to reefs and get caught up on the corals. If you have ever helped to cut huge nets off reefs you will understand. Sunsceen is Thailand's least concern if they are serious about saving their remaining coral reefs.

maverick | 08 August 2021 - 08:22:39

About time to, these brands of sun screen are already banned by dive companies in many locations 

Timothy | 08 August 2021 - 08:05:01

Thirty years ago Mexico was already stopping people with sunscreen from snorkeling at Marine parks. You had to give any lotions to the staff who put them in a locker for you. You had to shower before entering the water. In Thailand tourists have to pee in the water because there are no public toilets. Even if there were toilets/showers, the drains would run directly into the sea. 

Wiesel | 07 August 2021 - 23:09:00

@lelecuneo: try to protect and keep the sea is important does not matter which way. And dont have any connection to some bars sell beer. Or is it just about makes you happy to write some negativ nonsens??

lelecuneo | 07 August 2021 - 15:50:09

governement ban this and ban that... anyone could see most bars and Ban laimai Hotel and new bar next door selling alcohol those days...even the pub..molly something patong beach front selling and not even hiding with coffee mug or anything..so ban for what? if police are totally corrupt and only see what they want? no ban will ever actually be usefull..shame shame..everyone know..only police dont

 

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