Subscribe Now

travelers today

Home » Travel Tips

Travelers Affect Coral Reefs: From Biodegradable Sunscreen to Overfishing

Travelers Today      

Updated: Aug 14, 2012 11:28 AM EDT

Text Size: A A A

Coral Reefs
Coral Reefs are an important part of the underwater ecosystem that are endanger.(Photo : Reuters)

A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives journal found that ultraviolet filters in sunscreen cause viral infections in the algae that keeps coral healthy and bleaches hard corals. From the study authors found that sunscreen could play a damaging role in coral reefs, while some scientists say it's not a pressing issue.

The authors estimate that travelers release 4000 to 6000 tons of sunscreen into reef areas annually.  Biodegradable sunscreen is a relevant option for beach goers that want to protect the environment. Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of the famous Jacques Cousteau and founder of Ocean Futures Society, promoted biodegradable products in Diver Magaine saying that ingredients in conventional sunscreen such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide has the potential to harm sea life and precious coral reefs. However he wrote, that he "would not suggest that sunscreen products are the primary reason our reefs are collapsing", but "everything is connected".

Share This Story

Though overfishing affects almost all of the reefs worldwide and pollution is a huge issue, sunscreen is just one minor thing that swimmers can change in their vacation routine.

Some scientists believe that the sunscreen issue is not a major concern. Kiho Kim, professor of environmental science at American University in Washington DC said to The BBC, "while it's good to use products that are biodegradable, the issue with sunscreen is "probably not even on the radar of things people ought to be thinking about".

Some things travelers can do to help protect coral reefs is not buying coral jewelry and choosing sustainably harvested seafood. As far as reducing ones carbon travel footprint, it's important for travelers to look for hotels that are doing things to be ecologically friendly.

Kim added to the BBC, "Travelling is not particularly sustainable. If biodegradable sunscreen is part of the mix that's fine. But travelers, "shouldn't have the illusion that they're protecting the destruction of the coral".

© 2015 Traverlers Today, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Join Our Conversation

Travel Tips


Five Tips for Parents Travelling with Kids

Travelling with kids can be a real burden. Lighten up your load. Check this article out.


Travel Tips from Experienced Travellers

Learn the best travel tips from people who have spent most of their lives exploring the beauty of the world.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive the latest travel news, reviews, and more..

Want more Travel?

Most Popular


Chile Earthquake: Seeing the Brighter Side

A photographer affiliated with REUTERS has captured a rare moment: a guy trying to see the brighter side of the Chile earthquake.


What to Do in Australia

Australia is one of the best places to visit any time of the year. It has so much to offer its guests and visitors. Whether you are traveling to Australia or jsut want to explore more of your own place, here is a checklist for you.

REUTERS/Carlos Vera

Chile Earthquake Kills Five People, Triggers Tsunami

The people of Chile are still terrified as aftershocks continued to shake buildings. Power outage is also experienced in some areas affected by the earthquake.

Find Us on Facebook

travelers today

© Copyright 2015 Travelers Today All Rights Reserved.

Subscribe to our newsletter