Country bans sunblock in bid to save coral reefs

Palau is set to become the first country to introduce a widespread ban on sunscreen in an attempt to protect and preserve its vulnerable coral reefs.

The Palau government has signed a law limiting the sale and use of sunscreen and skincare products that contain ten chemically defined ingredients, as researchers believe these ingredients are highly toxic to marine life and can make coral more susceptible to bleaching.

Palau will become the first country to enforce such laws, which are due to come into force in 2020. A violation could see retailers being fined up to $1,000 (£760).

In a statement, Palau's president Tommy Remengesau said, “The power to confiscate sunscreens should be enough to deter their non-commercial use, and these provisions walk a smart balance between educating tourists and scaring them away."

Elsewhere, it was revealed last week that major companies such as Coca Cola, H&M and L'Oreal have pledged to end plastic waste by 2025, along with 250 firms stating that 100% of their plastic packaging will be reused, recycled or composted.

This came after the European Parliament voted for a total ban on most single-use plastics across the EU by 2021 as part of its efforts to resolve the effects of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.

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