Saturday, May 25, 2013


Causes of Ozone Depletion
The cause of ozone depletion is the increase in the level of free radicals such as hydroxyl radicals, nitric oxide radicals and atomic chlorine and bromine. The most important compound, which accounts for almost 80% of the total depletion of ozone in the stratosphere are chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). These compounds are very stable in the lower atmosphere of the Earth, but in the stratosphere, they break down to release a free chlorine atom due to ultraviolet radiation. A free chlorine atom reacts with an ozone molecule (O3) and forms chlorine monoxide (ClO) and a molecule of oxygen. Now chlorine monoxide reacts with an ozone molecule to form a chlorine atom and two molecules of oxygen. The free chlorine molecule again reacts with ozone to form chlorine monoxide. The process continues and the result is the reduction or depletion of ozone in the stratosphere.

Possible Effects of Ozone Depletion
 If you are wondering why is the ozone layer important, then the answer lies in the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays. The ozone layer is responsible for absorbing the ultraviolet rays and thereby preventing them from passing through the atmosphere of Earth. Ultraviolet rays of the Sun are associated with a number of health related and environmental issues. The most important of these is the association between ultraviolet rays and an increased risk of developing several types of skin cancers including malignant melanoma, basal and squamous cell carcinoma. Even the incidents of cortical cataracts can also increase significantly with the increased exposure to ultraviolet rays.

The effects of ozone depletion are not limited to humans only, as it can affect animals and plants as well. It can affect important food crops like rice by adversely affecting cyanobacteria, which helps them absorb and utilize nitrogen properly. Phytoplankton, an important component of the marine food chain, can also be affected by ozone depletion. Studies in this regard have shown that ultraviolet rays can influence the survival rates of these microscopic organisms by affecting their orientation and mobility.

Ozone depletion is a crucial environmental problem on Earth. The growing concern over CFC production and the hole in the ozone layer is causing alarm among scientists and citizens. A battle has ensued to protect Earth's ozone layer.
In the war to save the ozone layer, and you may be at risk. The enemy is far, far away. 93 million miles away to be exact. It is the sun. Each day the Sun is a vicious warrior constantly bombarding and attacking our earth with harmful Ultra Violet radiation (UV). Earth has a shield to protect against this constant bombardment of harmful UV radiation. It is the ozone layer. UV radiation causes a host of problems for plants, animals, and humans including dangerous melanoma cancers. Watch a short video clip on the ozone layer as it provides protection to Earth from harmful solar radiation.

No comments :

Post a Comment