Tourism August 22, 2021 | 12:05 pm

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Riviera Maya: sunscreen for tourists endanger corals


Corals in the Riviera Maya are at risk from sunscreens, as a study conducted in the area reveals that between 231 and 313 tons of sunscreen are released into the sea each year.

“Some sunscreens contain chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxanate. These compounds are highly toxic because they bioaccumulate in the tissues of corals, cause bleaching, abnormalities in their development, can alter DNA and even kill them, “said to SciDev.Net, the researcher Karelys Febles-Moreno, one of the authors of the study, so reports El País.

In Mexico, there is no regulation on the use of this type of product. As a result, the Riviera Maya is visited by more than 15 million tourists a year who use these sunscreens harmful to marine life, says the publication in Applied Sciences.

Destinations such as Hawaii already banned these products in 2018, in the Republic of Palau, in Bonaire, Key West and virgin islands (USA), and Aruba (Venezuela). Similarly, Thailand joined the ban on filters with oxybenzone, octinoxate, 4-methylbencylidene camphor, or butylparaben which reports the same medium.

“UV filters are known to not only pollute oceans, lakes, rivers, but also groundwater, either by direct release into surface water (from the skin during swimming and bathing) or indirectly with water used for personal hygiene or laundry, through wastewater treatment plants. Moreover, the genotoxic potential of these compounds” is also for fish, seabirds, sponges, jellyfish, worms, crustaceans, molluscs, starfish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and turtles, among other animals,” said María Sandra Churio, a chemist at the National University of Mar del Plata and Conicet.

As reported by, by the first month of the summer season, Riviera Maya had already matched Cancun occupancy, reaching 68%; which demonstrates recovery of tourism in the area after the closures that occurred in its main markets due to the effects of the pandemic, including the European and Canadian markets. (Riviera Maya already manages to match the occupancy of Cancun and reaches 68%).

Quintana Roo has rebounded with the arrival of tourists, especially from the U.S. market and soon the Canadian market, one of the most important markets that were down due to the restrictions of the American country. In both Riviera Maya and Cancun, occupancy coincided with 68%; in Cozumel, 61%; and Gran Costa Maya, 32.9%.

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