Is there a link between ocean pollution and damage to human health?


ISLAMABAD, December 14 (online): Human actions are causing widespread damage to ocean ecosystems and threatening human health, a new report suggests.
The Earth’s oceans are crucial to sustaining life on the planet. They play a central role in adding oxygen into the atmosphere and absorbing carbon dioxide, helping to stabilize the effects of global heating.
They provide food to billions of people, are central to the livelihoods of millions who live or work on or near them, and have an important role in providing several essential medicines.
For people who live close to oceans — such as coastal communities, small-island communities, populations in the high Arctic, and peoples in parts of the global south — they are central to societal and cultural practices, traditions, and ways of life.
However, the world’s oceans are under threat, primarily from the actions of humans. And as the health of oceans deteriorates, so too does humans’ health, particularly those people who live close to them.
The researchers behind the present study looked in detail at current scientific evidence demonstrating the crucial role the world’s oceans play in planetary health. They also looked at the key factors that are damaging the health of the oceans.
They found that human actions are central to this damage in a complex manner, whereby specific destructive actions exist in a relationship with other damaging actions.
A key example of this is human-influenced climate change, as theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made clear.
As global temperatures increase, the rate of sea-ice melting increases. This releases forms of harmful algae and bacteria into previously uncontaminated waters.