It has been an essential in our beach bags for years. I remember waking up and driving down to Wategoes for a day at the beach, before we could even think about cooking breakfast or setting up the volley ball net, mum would bring out the Zinc and Sunscreen. As annoying as it was to apply, the smell of summer was complete with the amora of sunscreen.
However, for years I never thought it was impacting the ocean.
Did you know up to 14,000 tonnes of sunscreen is washed into the ocean annually? Some sunscreen products contain Oxybenzone, Benzophenon and Octinoxate, chemicals which exude into the water while we are swimming and is absorbed by the coral. This damages their DNA and decreases the corals' defences against bleaching.
Now, before you brush off the facts and jump into the water, let's take a closer look at our shores. The Great Barrier Reef covers 348,700 km² of the ocean floor - 25 percent of which is severely bleached. That is 87,175km² of our coral reef under severe stress before you have even enter the water.
I believe we should take responsibility into our own hands to try and remove unnecessary chemicals, products and waste from our daily lives. Changing what sunscreen we use is a small price to pay to reduce the cocktail of chemicals in our great reef.
To be clear, we are not advocating to not wear sunscreen (as my partner and I are ones to burn easily), so, we have compiled a list of reef friendly sunscreens for you to welcome in the warmer months.