One of the main culprits of coral bleaching is tourists that use sunscreen containing oxybenzone. That’s why Hawaii-based hotel chain, Aqua-Aston, are handing out sustainable sunscreen that aims to protect the vulnerable coral reefs.
A common chemical in sunscreens — Oxybenzone, also known as BP-13 — also happens to be “highly toxic to juvenile corals and other marine life,” according to a report by the National Ocean Service, and causes damage and other deformities to baby coral DNA. The chemical is found in more than 3,500 skincare products.
Since it launched its sustainable sunscreen last April, Aqua-Aston has handed out more than 35,000 free samples of their reef-safe sunscreen. The hotel chain has 40 different locations across the state and has an average of 5.5 million guests each year.
Hawaii’s famous reefs have suffered serious harm in recent years due to the prevalence of Oxybenzone, as well as warming temperatures, acidifying oceans, and plastic pollution.
As well as offering guests sustainable sunscreen, Aqua-Aston is helping to protect marine life in other ways too, by providing guests with reusable water bottles and reusable shopping totes to limit the need for single-use plastics.
Theresa Van Greunen, PR director of Aqua-Aston Hospitality, told KITV: “We’re really focusing on raising public awareness that there are safer alternatives out there. You can still protect your skin and also protect the natural environment that your enjoying.”
Aqua-Aston hotels is wanting to collaborate with community leaders to find ways to protect the island’s pristine environment.
Theresa Van Greunen added: “We’re really all in this together. One company can’t tackle this alone, so we’re really trying to reach out to our community leaders and raise the volume on this issue.”
Aqua-Aston hotels are now installing free sunscreen dispensers at its properties across Hawaii.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea