When Covid 19 became known to the world late in 2019, no one could have suspected the immense impact this pandemic would have on countless economies and industries worldwide. One of the most affected sectors is tourism: both international and domestic. This is mainly due to national governments closing their borders and implementing lockdowns to stop the spreading of the virus.
Scuba diving, as part of tourism, was hit very hard, also in Thailand. Many dive operators closed their doors and a lot of people employed in the dive industry were forced to go home as there was simply no work to be found.
The entire diving community in Thailand heartily welcomed some uplifting news last week. The Thai government declared that all sunscreens containing harmful chemical substances for coral reefs are banned from all marine national parks nationwide. The government based their decision on scientific data showcasing these chemicals “deteriorate coral reefs, destroy coral larvae, obstruct their reproductive system and cause coral reef bleaching.” The ban applies to sun lotions containing oxybenzone, octinoxate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor or butylparaben. Violations of the ban can lead to a steep fine (max 100,000 THB or 3,000 USD), although officials have not said how they plan to enforce the ban. Thailand is not the first country to introduce such a ban: Palau, Hawaii, and France were earlier trendsetters.
Almost 70 different known species of sea snakes roam around our oceans and they usually get to be about 2 meters long. They are equipped with paddle-like tails and many have laterally compressed bodies that give them an eel-like appearance. However, unlike eels, sea snakes don’t have gills and must regularly swim to the surface to breathe. Despite their (in)famous potent venom, sea snakes are generally very mild-tempered and will not bite unless provoked. Best to watch their beauty from a safe distance!