Around 40 years ago, scientists have warned the world that there is a hole in the layer of ozone that is protecting the earth from starting. The ozone layer is protecting the planet and us from harmful rays of the sunlight but now there is a hole in the ozone layer that could have a serious effect on human health and the environment. Now the depletion of the ozone layer becomes one of the major global issues. Scientists are now continuing to work on the replacement of those chemical substances which cause the depletion of the layer.
Let’s start with the question what is the Ozone layer?
The Ozone layer is the layer on the stratosphere between 15km to 30km above the earth and absorbs the ultraviolet radiation from reaching the earth’s surface, which could damage the environment and can largely impact human health. This Ultraviolet or UV radiation causes skin cancer and cataracts. The ozone layer plays a very important role in protecting humans and also prevents damaging plants and animals which could be affected by harmful UV radiation.
The main question is what causes the depletion of the Ozone layer?
The researchers have found evidence, the depletion of the ozone layer is happening due to the presence of CFC (Chlorofluorocarbons) and other halogen gases that are present in the stratosphere. These are the main reason for the depletion of the layer, the Ozone depleting substances (ODS) which are widely used around the world in everyday life. The main source of these harmful gases is the AC- Air Conditioners that are used throughout the world, the fire extinguishers, and refrigerators that use the CFC gases to keep them cool. The other sources are including aerosol propellants, solvents, and others.
How this is happening?
Recent research suggests that ozone depletion in the stratosphere is caused by ozone-depleting chemicals like CFC, these chemicals contain chlorine or bromine atom with permanent chemical stability and have a long lifetime in the atmosphere almost 40 to 150 years.
These chemicals just moved in the stratosphere and mixed with the chlorine-releasing reactions. The chlorine atoms react with the ozone molecules in the presence of sunlight and destroy the ozone molecules. The fact is, even one chlorofluorocarbon molecule can destroy tens of thousands of ozone molecules in a single time.
Now, there is a hole in the ozone layer that allows the entry of large amounts of ultraviolet light, and it is located at the poles of the Antarctic continent the Arctic Ocean can be seen from there.
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Way to protect the Ozone layer:
Well, after working over decades scientists have found a way to protect the Ozone layer. Let’s look at those ways.
- People should avoid the consumption of gases that are dangerous to the ozone layer, due to their content or manufacturing process. Some of the most dangerous gases are CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), methyl bromide, halogenated hydrocarbon, and nitrous oxide.
- Also, we should reduce the use of personal vehicles like cars. The best transport option you can go for is government transport or urban, bicycle, or walking.
- Do not use those cleaning products that are more harmful to the environment. Many cleaning products contain solvents and substances corrosive, instead, you can replace these dangerous substances with non-toxic products such as vinegar or bicarbonate.
- Buy local products, you not only get fresh products but you avoid consuming food that has traveled long distances. As more distance is traveled, more nitrous oxide is produced due to the medium used to transport that product.
- These years, people have developed a habit to use AC at home or offices, I am not saying to stop it but you can maintain air conditioners, as their malfunctions cause CFC to escape into the atmosphere. You can buy air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment that does not use HCFCs as a refrigerant. And also, conduct the regular inspection and maintenance of air-conditioning and refrigeration appliances to prevent and minimize refrigerant leakage.
- For existing air-conditioning and refrigeration appliances that operate on HCFCs or CFCs, the refrigerant should be recovered or recycled whenever required. Replacing such equipment to operate on non-HCFCs refrigerant should also be considered.
- When motor vehicle air-conditioners need servicing, make sure that the refrigerants are properly recovered and recycled instead of being released into the atmosphere.
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