A little sunscreen made up of the wrong ingredients can go a long way, and it’s not the right way. Many families often buy spray sunscreens for an easier time applying sunscreen at the beach. It’s very common for a brand that is advertised often to be bought, like banana boat or Neutrogena, but here’s the bad part. Usually, sunscreens (more specifically spray sunscreens) advertised for an easy application or marketed more commonly have an ingredient called Oxybenzone, this is a very dangerous chemical used in sunscreens to help thin out the sunscreen so that it is sprayable (although this chemical is NOT the only way to thin out a sunscreen, there are plenty of much less harmful ways). However, chemicals like oxybenzone are horrible for ocean pollution since it bleaches coral and intoxicates marine life.
Researchers have actually discovered that even the smallest drop of oxybenzone containing sunscreen can do some serious damage. The “equivalent to a drop of water in half a dozen olympic sized pools” (Huffington Post) is enough to cause harm. And at the rate that we are applying sunscreen (approximately 14,000 tons of sunscreen ends up in coral reefs worldwide each year), our coral reefs are in big trouble. After all, we’ve already lost 80% of the Caribbean’s coral.
So this is where we come in. Coral reefs are very important, not only as neighborhoods for Nemo and Dory, but for protecting our coasts from large waves and storms, as well as floods. When waters turn rough, waves crash onto reefs, normally reefs would be strong and they can take the blow, acting as a buffer. But if they’re all dying, those waves are going to move on, and that’s not something we want. Floods would be very common and beach days would have to come to an end. Life, would very much change.
Another way the loss of coral reefs harm us humans is that our beautiful coral reefs are a common and popular tourist attraction. Already coves are having to close off their bays due to the diminishment of the once thriving coral. If the coral dies, fish will also diminish and some species will go extinct. What are the tourist going to awe at if there is nothing to see?
This cycle is just an example of a harmful cause and effect relationship that come in the thousands, and they all root from ocean pollution. This is why we must step in, not only for the sea life, but also for our beloved coasts and homes.
Read about how chemicals like Oxybenzone affect coral reefs in my blog post “Hidden Pollutant: Sunscreen” in the tab Ocean Pollution.
But you can help prevent the bleachment of our beloved coral, click on the tab “What We Can Do to Help” and read the “Choosing a Sunscreen” post. Thanks 🙂
Knowledge sourcing from:
The Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (oceanservice.noaa.gov)
The Huffington Post (www.huffingtonpost.com)