Think twice before jumping in the water

As you venture down to the beach to top up your tan or go for a snorkel, it’s almost instinctive to slather sunscreen on and spray yourself with DEET. It’s always important to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays and the pesky no-seeums! It’s fine if you don’t venture into the water, but if you go for a cooling dip or a snorkel, you’re introducing a variety of poisons and toxins into the sea and may be contributing to the death of Roatan’s reefs.

A recent study commissioned by the European Commission estimates that up to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen washes off swimmers annually in oceans worldwide. Sunscreens are comprised of around 20 compounds which act as UV filters and preservatives. The study found that four of these compounds can awaken dormant viruses in the symbiotic algae, zooxanthellae, which live inside corals. The algae are vital in the coral’s survival and without them the coral bleaches, turning white and then dying. The chemicals found in sunscreen cause the viruses to replicate until their algal host explodes, spilling viruses into the surrounding seawater, where they can infect neighboring coral communities. It was found that just a 20-minute dip could wash off about a quarter of the chemicals in the lotion, resulting in the chemicals ending on the reef. The study concluded that up to 10% of the world’s reefs are at risk from sunscreen-induced coral bleaching, a gloomy outlook.

While there are so many anthropologic threats to Roatan’s coral reefs, ranging from sedimentation, sewage, pollution and development, you can at least do your part and choose to use eco-friendly sunscreens. Also avoid using DEET if you intend to go immediately into the sea as this is toxic to plants and animals alike. The Marine Park Green Store stocks eco-friendly sunscreen and repellent, so do your part to prevent further bleaching!

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One Response to “Think twice before jumping in the water”

  1. OMAR Says:

    wooooooooooooooo, me gusta todo eso que escriven, y creo que sobre los bloqueadores solar, debemos haser algo, Roatan es una isla pequeña y la podemos controlar.
    no se si ya lo isieron o no, pero deveriamos plantear esto al alcande para que no se vendan estos productos quimicos que los prohiban, y que solo se vendad los que no son contaminantes.
    me encantaria trabajar con ustedes, soy estudiante de Hosteleria Y Turismo del Instituto Jose Santos Guardiola. ya tiene mi correo y este es mi cell, 95588810 por si les puedo servir en algo.
    sigan hasi esta super bien lo que uds hasen FELICIDADES y que Dios le ayude.

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