Coral Triangle Day is celebrated every June 9 to raise awareness of ocean conservation and protection.
However, the damage faced by coral reefs in Singapore is perhaps one of the environmental problems that people are least aware about.
Pollution is one of the common threats faced by corals.
Plastic litter scattered on beaches near the coastal waters eventually finds its way into the ocean. The presence of pollutants not only speeds up the growth of damaging algae, but also makes corals more susceptible to disease, impeding their growth and reproduction.
Another commonly overlooked threat is the excessive use of sunscreen. Sunblock that may be washed off into the sea contains harmful chemicals that can hurt or even kill coral reefs.
Change is what we need.
First, we can start by practising the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) and dispose of trash properly, as marine debris can harm coral reefs.
Second, we can perhaps try taking a reef-friendly approach to sun protection, to prevent ingredients used in sunscreen from getting into the ocean.
One of the best ways would be to wear long-sleeved shirts instead of using sunscreen to protect ourselves from sunburn when visiting beaches.
It is essential that we understand the threats faced by coral reefs and try to protect them through our daily actions.
Sharie Tay Yi Xuan, 14