Why should you care about the health of the ocean?

lifeguard wearing mask during harmful algal bloom

Lifeguards are probably one of the populations most highly exposed to aerolized Harmful algal blooms like brevetoxins (K. brevis) because of their lengthy stays on beaches; some wear masks during harmful algal blooms. Photo credit: L. Backer

When we think of public health risks we may not think of the ocean as a possible harbor. But increasingly, and in light of a changing climate, the health of the ocean is intimately tied to our health. With 70% of the oxygen we breathe produced by marine plants in the ocean, every other breath depends on a healthy ocean.

NOAA is taking a new look at how the health of the ocean can affect human health, both through a positive lens, such as deriving life-saving medicines from the sea, and a negative lens, such as exposure to health risks associated contaminated seafood, beaches, and drinking water.

You should care about ocean health because your health depends on it, and we derive so many benefits from a healthy ocean. Keeping oceans healthy can help ensure healthy people, and healthy economies.