Focus Merit

Pacific Island nation Palau, 1st country to ban ‘reef-toxic’ sunscreen

Palau’s pioneering officially enacted ban on “reef-toxic” sunscreens. From New Year’s day, any reef-toxic sunscreen imported or sold in Palau will be confiscated and the owner will be fined. Along with the ban, Palau’s much-touted marine sanctuary came into effect on January 1.

Palau is renowned for its marine life and is regarded as one of the world’s best diving destinations. But, the government is concerned this poses an environmental cost. President Thomas Remengesau stated there was scientific evidence that chemicals found in most sunscreens were toxic to corals.

This closes 80 per cent of its exclusive economic zone to fishing and other marine activities including mining and shark finning. It follows Palau’s establishment of the world’s first shark sanctuary in 2009.