Hawaii will Protect its Coral Reef by Banning Harmful Sunscreens

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A popular tourist destination, Hawaii will take innovative measures in order to protect its reef. The state has decided to ban the sale and distribution of some sunscreens, which contain two chemicals potentially lethal for young developing corals.

Chemicals will be banned to keep the coral reef safe

Introduced by State Sen. Mike Gabbard and signed by Gov. David Ige, Senat Bill 2571 prohibits those over-the-counter sunscreens whose ingredient list includes oxybenzone and octinoxate. These two chemicals are proved to have a devastating effect on the marine life, especially the reef, since they can damage and kill corals at early stages of their development.

The document signed at the Capitol Rotunda in Honolulu, right after noon on July 3rd, will take effect on January 1st 2021. According to Gov. Ige, an introduction of this law will greatly improve the protection of the Hawaiian marine ecosystem. By implementing this strong legislation, Hawaii is set to be the first in the world to go to such extent in order to preserve its aquatic life.

Supporters and opponents of the law

Various non-profit environmental groups, such as Friends of Hanauma Bay, Surfrider Foundation and Kohala Center of Hawaii Island, were present at the rotunda to witness the highly anticipated event. The signing of the bill, which was also supported by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, was welcomed with enthusiastic applause.

Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, ABC Stores, the Hawaii Medical Association and Personal Care Products Council, as well as the manufacturer of Copperton sunscreens, Bayer, were all against the signing of this law.

The Hawaiian Coral Reef accounts for about 85 percent of all coral reefs belonging to the U.S. It is the home of various marine species, such as the Hawaiian monk seal, the tiger shark, the green sea turtle and the manta ray.

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