Taiwan is known as the Coral Kingdom. Green Island, Orchid Island, and Kenting are home to more than ⅓ of the world’s coral species. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) coral monitoring system, most of the corals around the coast of Taiwan are showing signs of coral bleaching. This may result in coral death which would greatly impact the precious marine ecosystem.
One of the main culprits of coral bleaching is the chemical-based sunblock that is commonly used while doing water activities! Benzophenone, octyl methoxycinnamate, and other chemical substances used in these sunblocks disrupt the corals’ endocrine. Moreover, the chemical substances destroy the DNA of mature corals and cause premature calcification. Therefore, the corals being unable to adapt to the rising ocean water temperature which leads to further coral bleaching and death. The beautiful and rich marine ecosystem has attracted numerous tourists to Green Island and Orchid Island. However, the crowd has sparked a rise in issues of sunblock chemical pollution which cannot be ignored.
As such, the Taitung County government has signed the Greenpeace Declaration in response to 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the Greenpeace and MUN’s. The 14th development goal conveys the idea of “Conserve and Sustainably Use the Ocean’s Ecosystem.” Environmental protection groups and citizens are cooperating to protect and monitor the coral reefs in the area. Travelers are required to use “Ocean Friendly” products when participating in water activities in Taitung. Travelers are encouraged to wear rash guards and hats in place of sunblock lotions, and avoid using chemical sunblock products. Everyone has the responsibility to ensure that we all sustain and preserve this beautiful ocean ecosystem together.