Featured Image Credit: Gwen Filosa FLKeysNews.com
By: Sarah Sharkey
Coral reefs are suffering everywhere, including the Florida Keys. The warming oceans, intense storms, and constant human activity have left the sensitive coral vulnerable to diseases that are wiping out entire reefs.
Most recently, a new disease called “White Spot” has been sweeping the reef the Florida Keys. The disease was first since in 2015 near Miami Dade County and has quickly made it further South.
Needless to say, everyone that cares about corals is worried. So, the residents of Key West have decided to take one step towards protecting the corals. In a vote last week, the Key West City Commission decided to ban the sale of sunscreen that contains oxybenzone and octinoxate. Both of these chemicals are commonly found in sunscreens that tourists wear as they swim around the reefs. The chemicals leaching into the water and can stress the corals. Researchers have even shown that these chemicals can lead to bleaching and death of corals.
Chief scientist and research officer at the Florida Keys Community College, Patrick Rice, had this to say about the chemicals, “Oxybenzone is an oil and it floats on the surface. These items should be banned as they have no place in our waters in the Florida Keys.”
Hopefully, this step will help reduce stress on corals.
Learn more from our source.