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.

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