Palau has become the first country to ban sun cream that is harmful to corals and sea life.
Sun cream that includes common ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate, is not allowed to be worn or sold in the country, the BBC reported.
Palau’s president Tommy Remengesau said: “We have to live and respect the environment because the environment is the nest of life.”
The island nation markets itself as a “pristine paradise” for divers. A lagoon in Palau’s Rock Islands is an Unesco World Heritage site.
Turquoise lagoons and sea cows
Rock Islands Southern Lagoon covers 100.200 hectares and includes 445 uninhabited limestone islands of volcanic origin. They have unique mushroom-like shapes in turquoise waters surrounded by coral reefs.
They sustain a large diversity of plants, birds and marine life including dugong (sea cow) and at least thirteen shark species.
The International Coral Reef Foundation said the banned chemicals were “known environmental pollutants – most of them are… incredibly toxic to juvenile stages of many wildlife species”.
Other places to announce bans on toxic sun cream include the US Virgin Islands, the US state of Hawaii and the Dutch Caribbean island Bonaire.