Local efforts

Rudolf and Marijke from @Mati’s Place are testing with compostable food containers this week. These compostable boxes seem to be a (much more) sustainable alternative for single use food packaging, than styrofoam. Boneiru Duradero wanted to offer a number of take out restaurants on Bonaire the opportunity to try out these compostables. This way restaurants could experience the quality of the compostable material for themselves. Besides Mati ’s Place, WattaBurger Bonaireand Bobbejans Bbqwill also test with these compostables. The food containers were sponsored by Boneiru Duradero and Bay West Bonaire. #saynotostyrofoam


Why can’t you just ban Oxybenzone on Bonaire?

1. Mexico has banned Oxybenzone sunscreens from nature reserves and Palau (Pacific Ocean) has banned Oxybenzone from Jelly Fish Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

2. Hawaii has tried to ban the sale of sunscreens containing Oxybenzone through legislation in 2017. This ban would have an effect on imported products, but it would not prevent international tourists from bringing and using their own sunscreens.

3. Banning Oxybenzone on Bonaire, through legislation, could be a step in the right direction. However, we have an increasing amount of cruise tourists visiting Bonaire, who bring their sunscreens with them. Enforcing a No-Oxybenzone policy can only be done with the help of STINAPA, the government and all businesses with water related activities.

4. As the research into harmful sunscreen ingredients continues, researchers might discover that there are more ingredients, besides Oxybenzone, that impact coral in a negative way. This means that new insights will steer the actions that need to be taken.

5. Sunscreen Awareness Bonaire focusses on the voluntary action perspective that individuals have, when visiting our marine park on Bonaire. We can teach our visitors to use sunscreens wisely, thereby reducing the amount of chemicals entering the water, when they follow the next 6 tips: 1. Choose Oxybenzone free products, 2. Prefer sunscreens based on Zinc oxide or Titanium dioxide (non-nano), 3. Avoid aerosol sprays, 4. Wear protective clothing, 5. Put on sunscreen at least 30 minutes before entering the water and 6. Do not use a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) above 50.

6. Sunscreen Awareness Bonaire is in the process of creating an island wide platform, where partners from the public and private sector are working together on awareness and other efforts that support a healthy reef.

FAQ about harmful Sunscreens

Reducing the impact of potentially harmful sunscreens on our reef seems like a no-brainer… only use the right sunscreens and get rid of the bad ones. Unfortunately, the problem is a little more complicated. We have received a number of questions and suggestions with regard harmful sunscreens and we decided to make a FAQ-category called: Why can’t you just…

Why can’t you just make a list of the sunscreens that are safe for corals?

1. Research with regard to harmful UV-filters, such as Oxybenzone and other potentially “bad” ingredients is still ongoing. Oxybenzone (benzophenone-3 or BP-3) has been studied the most, which is why we know that this UV-filter is damaging to corals, even at very low concentrations.

2. Each sunscreen brand carries a wide variety of products, with variation in SPF’s: 15-100, packaging: lotion/sprays, target groups: kids, sports and ingredients: with or without Oxybenzone. The active ingredients for each product can vary, and manufacturers frequently change formulations. A list of “good” sunscreen brands would simply be too time consuming to keep up to date. Which makes it necessary to READ the ingredient list.

3. Communication from sunscreen manufactures can be very misleading, often promoting products with claims as “reef safe”. Some of the so called “reef safe” products contain Oxybenzone, so beware! Consumers will have to go the extra mile and try to read the microscopically small print of the ingredient list and check for Oxybenzone/Benzophenone-3/BP3.
Tip: Take a picture with your phone and enlarge 😉

4. The sunscreens that are currently perceived as the best alternatives are based on (non-nano) Zinc Oxide (ZnO) and Titanium Dioxide (TiO2). These products can feel different compared to conventional sunscreens, they often have a thicker consistency and smell different due to a lack of perfumes. It is best to test these sunscreens and decide for yourself, based on your personal preference.

Sunscreen Awareness Conference

Wageningen Marine Research and Boneiru Duradero are organizing a Sunscreen Awareness Conference on March 21, 2018. The conference offers stakeholders from the tourism sector on Bonaire the opportunity to learn more about the potential threats of harmful sunscreens to Bonaire’s reef. It also offers stakeholders the opportunity to share their personal views on this issue and help develop a sunscreen strategy for Bonaire.

Dr. Diana Slijkerman, from Wageningen Marine Research, will lead the conference, working towards the following objectives:

1. Share current insights about the UV-filter Oxybenzone, and the effect this sunscreen ingredient has on corals;
2. Indicate Relevancy and Urgency of harmful sunscreens to Bonaire;
3. Receive input from conference participants on how to move forward;
4. Determine a coordinated island wide effort to protect our reef on Bonaire.

MARCH 21, 2018

18.00 – 18.30 Walk in with snack buffet
18.30 – 18.50 Problem Analyses & Results of Research on Bonaire
18.50 – 19.10 Questions & Feedback
19.10 – 20.10 Brainstorm on moving forward
20.10 – 20.30 Summary of Conclusions

The conference is an invitation only event! Tourism operators can send an email to Sharon@bolholding.com to sign up for the conference.