Travellers heading to the US Virgin Islands could wish to rethink what sort of sunscreen they pack. The territory just lately outlawed sunscreens with elements believed to hurt coral reefs and different marine life.
It’s not the primary such regulation – Hawaii and Key West, Florida within the US have handed comparable measures – however Virgin Islands stands out as the first US entity to implement such a ban.
The island nation of Palau within the western Pacific additionally outlawed sunscreens with dangerous chemical compounds in 2018. It took motion after a 2017 report confirmed that its hottest pure landmark, Jellyfish Lake, the place thousands and thousands of golden jellies as soon as thrived, recorded its highest concentrations of sunscreen compounds.
In June, lawmakers within the US Virgin Islands handed a ban that prohibits shops from stocking some kinds of common sunscreens after Sept 30, and locals and guests from utilizing or possessing them on Jan 1.
“Tourism within the Virgin Islands is our lifeblood,” Governor Albert Bryan Jr stated in a press release after signing the regulation in July. “However to make sure we proceed to entice guests with our world-class seashores and pure magnificence within the coming years, we have to shield our coral reefs as a part of our quest to provoke sustainable tourism. That is essential all around the Caribbean, and I name on others to affix me.”
The transfer doesn’t imply guests might be pressured to danger solar publicity. Solely merchandise that include the UV-blocking chemical compounds oxybenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene might be prohibited. Travellers as a substitute could use reef-safe sunscreens made with minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
Additionally they ought to restrict their time within the solar and put on protecting clothes to protect their pores and skin.
The US Virgin Islands contains 4 massive islands – St Croix, St Thomas, St John and Water Island – in addition to coral reefs round Virgin Islands Nationwide Park, Buck Island Reef and others.
In making the choice, lawmakers cited scientific proof from the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicating that “oxybenzone is lethal to coral and threatens general reef well being,” a press release stated.
The US Environmental Safety Company cites warming oceans, air pollution that begins on land (together with sunscreen use), trash and microplastics, and overfishing as different threats to reefs. The US company estimates that Caribbean reefs have misplaced 80% of their stony coral cowl.
Related sunscreen legal guidelines in Hawaii and Key West received’t take impact till 2021. – dpa
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