• The Kohala Center: Please Help Protect Kahalu‘u Bay

    May 13, 2019
    Kahalu‘u Bay, a small, 4.2-acre county park, attracts more that 400,000 visitors a year to enjoy its calm, clear waters and vibrant, colorful reef ecosystem. Like many coral reefs in Hawai‘i, this special place is facing many threats. Research confirms that chemicals found in most sunscreens, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, are contributing to coral decline. These chemicals affect coral growth and reproduction, and also harm fish and other marine life.

    • Five water samples taken from different areas in Kahalu‘u Bay revealed oxybenzone levels  averaging  262 times greater than the Environmental Protection Agency’s guidelines for a high-risk situation for marine life, according to the Program Manager of the NOAA Coral and Disease Program. If we do not take any corrective steps to improve water quality, coral in Kahalu‘u Bay will continue to die and will not recover.
    • The Hawai‘i Coral Reef Initiative Research Program reports that Hawaiʻi’s nearshore reefs generate about $800 million annually in gross revenue (or $364 million in added value).
    The need to reduce the level of sunscreen chemicals in the bay has never been more urgent!
    Please kōkua…. You can help us heal Kahaluʻu Bay:
    1. Purchase products for resale that are reef-friendly and mineral-based, with active ingredients non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
    2. Avoid purchasing chemical sunscreens with octocrylene, oxybenzone, octinoxate, and nanoparticles.
    3. Actively promote reef-friendly products in your business.
    4. Promote protective clothing such as hats, sunwear shirts, long-sleeve rash guards, wraps, and board shorts.
    Together, we can PROTECT and HEAL Kahaluʻu Bay — for our residents, our visitors, our children, and future generations to continue to enjoy. Can we count on you?
    For more information, educational materials, and to support our efforts to heal Kahalu‘u Bay, please contact Cindi Punihaole at cpunihaole@kohalacenter.org.

    Kahaluʻu Bay Education Center, a program of The Kohala Center, promotes “reef etiquette” to visitors and residents alike in an effort to protect Kahalu‘u Bay’s fragile ecosystem. By promoting sustainable tourism and working with our community and local businesses, we can protect and heal Kahalu‘u Bay to preserve a vital asset to West Hawai‘i’s coastal health and local economy
    Cindi Punihaole Kennedy, Director, Kahalu'u Bay Education Center
    (808) 887-6411
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