Thailand, one of the most visited countries in the world due to its spectacular tropical beaches, has banned from marine parks the use of sunscreens that contain four chemicals known to damage corals.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said that the measure, which came into effect on Wednesday, was aimed at protecting the country's coasts from products that "deteriorate coral reefs, destroy larvae, obstruct their reproductive system and cause coral bleaching."

Studies have shown that even at extremely low concentrations, sunscreens cause the rapid and complete bleaching of hard corals.