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Hawaii - Reef Damage - The Major Threats
Hawaii - Reef Damage - The Major Threats
Hawaii - Reef Damage - The Major Threats
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Hawaii - Reef Damage - The Major Threats

  1. 2017 MAUITIME GREEN ISSUE: WHAT IS REEF-SAFE SUNSCREEN AND HOW TO FIND IT By JEN RUSSO Maui Time April 19, 2017 https://mauitime.com/news/science-and-environment/2017-mauitime-green-issue-what-is-reef-safe-sunscreen-and-how-to-find-it/ Sunscreen has turned into a daily-use product in households across Hawaii. With rising concerns about skin cancer, it’s become a product you apply before you go outdoors, not just to the beach. The problem is the substance in sunscreen that blocks UV rays on humans isn’t so good for our ocean’s coral reefs. In fact, the issue is so pronounced the Hawaii bill SB 1150 aims to ban oxybenzone from sunscreen used at our beaches to protect the ocean and reefs. Caroline Duell, CEO and founder of All Good organic skincare, says this bill is great but is just the beginning of the awareness we need to protect our ocean. Oxybenzone was found to be detrimental to reefs in a study released in 2015 but it’s still widely used in sunscreen. According to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG), “Oxybenzone is a common UV filter in sunscreen. It is a hormone disruptor and allergen. Sampling by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection has detected it in the urine of 97 percent of Americans. Despite emerging concerns, the sunscreen industry continues to rely heavily on oxybenzone as an active ingredient: it was in 70 PERCENT of the non-mineral sunscreens we evaluated for this year’s guide.” [Emphasis Supplied] Other sunscreen ingredients like Avobenzone, Homosalate, octinoxate, octisalate and octocrylene are of concern. The vitamin A additive retinyl palmitate has been found to cause cancer and EWG reports that it’s still used in 16 percent of the products it surveyed in 2016. All Good also says that additives like paragons, phthalate, triclosan and microbeads are harmful. So how do we navigate the the compromise between skin protection and reef awareness? The EWG website publishes an annual sunscreen report that rounds up the latest research and concerns. You can find their list of sunscreen concerns, best rated sunscreens and moisturizers with sunscreen at Ewg.org/sunscreen.
  2. HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES NEWS RELEASE: OCEAN USERS URGED TO USE REEF-SAFE SUNSCREENS Posted on Sep 3, 2016 http://governor.hawaii.gov/newsroom/latest-news/dlnr-news-release-ocean-users-urged-to-use-reef-safe-sunscreens/ Sunscreens are important in protecting human skin from the sun’s damaging radiation, and are highly recommended for residents and visitors who spend time under the sun. This is especially important in Hawaii, where tropical latitudes result in direct sunlight that has less atmosphere to travel through than places farther from the equator. As a result, less of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation is filtered out, and it’s easy to burn. Sunscreens contain either minerals or chemicals as active ingredients to filter out UV. Oxybenzone is a chemical filter found in many sunscreens. Besides damaging coral, oxybenzone may have negative effects on human health. Oxybenzone and two other sunscreen chemicals, octinoxate and homosalate, have all been shown to cause disruptive reproductive system effects, due to their hormone-like activity. Oxybenzone and octinoxate have also been associated with moderate to high rates of skin allergy. At the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve on Maui, NAR specialist Jeff Bagshaw has made sunscreen outreach a priority. He’s created cards to pass out to visitors who frequent the snorkeling spots there. The cards list sunscreen chemicals in addition to oxybenzone which some scientists believe may have negative impacts on corals. He and his volunteers try to talk to everyone who pulls into the parking lot to encourage them to begin only using products with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active sunscreens. WORLD WILDLIFE FUND (WWF) CORAL REEFS: THREATS By Jürgen Freund http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/blue_planet/coasts/coral_reefs/coral_threats/ Coral reefs have survived tens of thousands of years of natural change, but many of them may not be able to survive the havoc brought by humankind. Roughly one-quarter of coral reefs worldwide are already considered damaged beyond repair, with another two-thirds under serious threat.
  3. Major threats to coral reefs and their habitats include: Climate change: Corals cannot survive if the water temperature is too high. Global warming has already led to increased levels of coral bleaching, and this is predicted to increase in frequency and severity in the coming decades. Such bleaching events may be the final nail in the coffin for already stressed coral reefs and reef ecosystems. Destructive fishing practices: These include cyanide fishing, blast or dynamite fishing, bottom trawling, and muro-ami (banging on the reef with sticks). Bottom-trawling is one of the greatest threats to cold-water coral reefs. Overfishing: This affects the ecological balance of coral reef communities, warping the food chain and causing effects far beyond the directly overfished population. Careless tourism: Careless boating, diving, snorkeling, and fishing happens around the world, with people touching reefs, stirring up sediment, collecting coral, and dropping anchors on reefs. Some tourist resorts and infrastructure have been built directly on top of reefs, and some resorts empty their sewage or other wastes directly into water surrounding coral reefs. Pollution: Urban and industrial waste, sewage, agrochemicals, and oil pollution are poisoning reefs. These toxins are dumped directly into the ocean or carried by river systems from sources upstream. Some pollutants, such as sewage and runoff from farming, increase the level of nitrogen in seawater, causing an overgrowth of algae, which 'smothers' reefs by cutting off their sunlight. Sedimentation: Erosion caused by construction (both along coasts and inland), mining, logging, and farming is leading to increased sediment in rivers. This ends up in the ocean, where it can 'smother' corals by depriving them of the light needed to survive. The destruction of mangrove forests, which normally trap large amounts of sediment, is exacerbating the problem. Coral mining: Live coral is removed from reefs for use as bricks, road-fill, or cement for new buildings. Corals are also sold as souvenirs to tourists and to exporters who don't know or don't care about the longer term damage done, and harvested for thelive rock trade.
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