Ozone Layer: The ozone layer is also known as the ozone shield. It is the layer that is present in the stratosphere of Earth. The stratosphere region is concentrated with ozone that absorbs harmful radiations coming from the sun.
Ozone hole: The ozone hole is a thinning area in the stratosphere from where ultraviolet radiations are making their way to the Earth. The ozone layer is having holes in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.
Ozone Depletion: It is defined as the abrupt thinning of Earth’s protective layer. The Earth’s protective layer is known as the ozone layer. The ozone layer protects Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation that is coming from the sun. This layer is getting depleted by human activities that include the emission of chemical compounds from industries, etc. These chemical compounds have gaseous bromine and chlorine that react with the protective layer and results in depletion.
Current Situation of Ozone Depletion: According to UNEP, the current maps of the Arctic hemisphere prepared with satellite imagery have shown that there is a notable decrease in the ozone layer over the North Pole. The ozone hole has increased in size as compared to the satellite data of the previous year. The ozone hole over the North Pole is big in size if compared with the Antarctic ozone hole.
CAUSES OF OZONE DEPLETION
The ozone depletion is caused by anthropogenic activities. The process of ozone depletion includes the destruction of the ozone layer by synthetic chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons, carbon tetrafluoride, carbon tetrachloride, etc. These compounds break down in the presence of ultraviolet radiations and release gaseous chlorine atoms that react with the ozone layer and destroy it.
Sources of ozone-depleting substances are synthetic chemicals used in manufacturing refrigerants, air conditioners, etc. These compounds are also present in propellants, solvents, foam blowing agents, etc.
EFFECTS OF OZONE DEPLETION
The harmful radiations are entering the atmosphere of Earth due to ozone layer depletion and showing negative consequences on the ecosystem. The common effects of ozone depletion are listed below.
1. Human Health: Ozone depletion is causing skin cancers among humans. It is also responsible for eye cataracts, immune system deficiency, etc.
2. Animal Life: Ozone depletion has negative impacts on the early developmental stages of animal life.
3. Agriculture: Ozone depletion is resulting in less crop yield. This is happening because harmful radiation is damaging plant growth.
4. Infrastructure: The material used in buildings is degraded as a result of ozone layer depletion.
5. Habitat Destruction: Ozone depletion is also linked with habitat destruction and biodiversity loss.
SOLUTIONS TO OZONE DEPLETION
1. Eco-friendly Cars: Eco-friendly cars can be a good solution to fossil fuel-driven cars.
2. Montreal Protocol: This agreement includes eliminating the use of synthetic compounds responsible for the ozone holes.
3. Avoid Using Pesticides: Pesticides contain persistent organic pollutants that also contribute to ozone depletion.
4. Avoid Using Ozone Depleting Compounds: The use of ozone-depleting compounds in manufacturing products should be avoided.
5. Public Transport: Public transport can help in reducing the emission of chemical compounds.
The ozone layer is essential for the sustenance of life on Earth. Human activities are responsible for environmental pollution. Air pollution is linked with ozone layer depletion. The industrial revolution has resulted in the degradation of the environment. There should be strict implementation of policies regarding the ban of synthetic chemicals.
Also, check out Fossil Fuels are Killing Us – According to Latest Harvard Study
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– MS Environmental Science
– Content Writer
Researcher, Nature Lover, and Environmentalist