Thailand has joined other diving destinations in banning the use of sunscreens that contain certain coral-damaging chemicals, in its case from all its marine national parks.
There are some 26 such parks in the country, with four in the Andaman Sea proposed for World Heritage status, including the Surin, Similan and Tarutao islands, all popular scuba locations.
The Thai ban covers sunscreens that contain Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3), Octinoxate (Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate), 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor (4MBC) or Butylparaben.
There are reckoned to be as many as 3500 brands of sunscreen, and these ingredients are judged to be particularly harmful in that they can kill coral larvae, interfere with corals’ reproductive system and cause bleaching.
Under the new legislation anyone found using a product containing these chemicals can be fined 100,000 baht (£2100), though how the ban will be enforced when tourism returns to previous levels has not been made clear by Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife & Plant Conservation.