The envelope around the earth is the ozone layer. Earth is surrounded by a layer in the stratosphere that contains a high concentration of ozone molecules known as the ozone layer. This layer protects the earth from the harmful ultraviolet radiation of the sun. This layer due to the presence of O3 molecules shows blueish color. This layer can absorb 97-99% of ultraviolet radiation from the sun. If this layer was absent or not present around the earth then harmful radiations coming from the sun cause skin diseases and weakened immune systems.
Ozone layer depletion :
Scientists have discovered a hole in the ozone layer over the Antarctic.
“ Ozone layer depletion is the gradual thinning of the ozone layer around the earth. This is due to human activities.”
This happens when chlorine and bromine atoms in the atmosphere come in contact with O3 molecules and destroy them. One chlorine can destroy 100,000 molecules of O3. It is destroyed more quickly than its form. Some substance contains chlorine and bromine when they come in contact with ultraviolet rays the chlorine present in the released and break the O3 layer. These substances are known as Ozone Depleting substances ( ODS ).
Causes of depletion :
This depletion is caused by no of factors. Some main factors are listed below:-
- Chlorofluorocarbon ( CFCs ) is one of the leading causes of ozone layer depletion. This is released by refrigerators, air conditioners, etc. Chlorofluorocarbons when in contact with Ultra violet rays, decomposition of CFCs occur. The decomposition of chlorofluorocarbons releases chlorine that reacts with O3 and causes the degradation of O3 molecules. This is the most major damaging factor of the O3 layer. CFCs molecule in the stratosphere is broken by UV rays. Then Chlorine release breaks O3 molecules.
- Nitrogenous compounds are also responsible for O3 depletion. Like NO2, NO, and N2O.
- Natural causes of O3 are slightly depleted by natural processes like volcanic eruptions.
Effects of depletion
Due to O3 depletion, many harmful effects can occur and some of them are listed below,
- Effect on Human Health Direct exposure to ultraviolet radiation may cause some serious health problems such as skin diseases, sunburns, and a weekend of the immune system.
- Effect on the environment ultraviolet rays cause minimal growth, flowering, and photosynthesis in plants.
- Effects on the buildings ultraviolet rays cause an impact on the stones of buildings and extract minerals present in them which leads to changes in color.
Ozone-depleting substances (ODS)
Degradation of the O3 layer is caused by no of factors and each factor contains substances that chemically decompose the O3 layer. Those substances which cause ozone layer degradation are known as the Ozone depleting substances.
Some ozone-depleting substances with their sources are given below:-
- Chlorofluorocarbons released from the refrigerator, dry cleaning agent, and AC.
- Halogen was released from the fire extinguisher.
- Hydrofluorocarbon is released from the fire extinguisher and cleaning solvent.
- Methyl chloroform is released from Adhesive aerosols.
- Carbon tetrachloride released from solvent and fire extinguisher.
Solutions for Ozone layer depletion
Since the International world committee recognized O3 depletion as a serious issue they are continuously finding solutions to ozone depletion. Some suggestions are listed below in order to overcome the destruction of this layer.
Stop using ODS-containing products
First of all the products containing ODS should replace. Fire extinguishers that release halogen should be replaced. Use CFCs free refrigerator and Air Conditioner.
Prefer public transport
Vehicles are the worldwide source of release of greenhouse gases that causes O3 depletion as well as global warming. So prefer public transportation over personal transport. By doing so we can overcome both global warming and ozone depletion.
Cleaning products should be eco-friendly
The use of eco-friendly cleaning products will help to restrict the release of Cl and Br into the atmosphere which causes O3 layer depletion. Cl and Br are major constituents of cleaning products that find a way toward the atmosphere and cause the depletion of the O3 layer there.
Nitrous oxide should be banned
The use of nitrous oxide should be prohibited because they are the second major factor that causes O3 depletion. Like N2O, NO2, and NO.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is ozone layer depletion?
The ozone layer in the upper atmosphere of the earth is gradually getting thinner due to ozone layer depletion. The Ozone layer limits the amount of dangerous UV radiation that reaches the surface of the Earth. In the lower stratosphere (15–35 km above Earth), where the ozone layer is located, there are rather large amounts of ozone (O3).
Why is the ozone layer depleting?
The ozone layer is depleting because of manufacturing-related chemicals, particularly halocarbon refrigerants, solvents, propellants, and foam-blowing agents (such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), HCFCs, and halons).
Who damages the ozone layer?
The ozone layer is being destroyed mostly by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), but there are other substances that harm the ozone layer as well, including those containing bromine, other halogens, and nitrogen oxides.
How can we protect the ozone layer?
- Avoid the usage of gases that are harmful to the ozone layer, such as CFCs, halogenated hydrocarbons, and methyl bromide.
- Reduce the use of automobiles.
- Avoid using cleaning products that are bad for the earth and us.
- Keep air conditioners in good working order because when they break down, CFCs escape into the atmosphere.
Is the ozone layer harmful?
Ozone is an atmospheric contaminant that harms the lungs and asthma attacks when it is present close to the ground. But ozone molecules preserve life on Earth, which is found 10 to 30 miles (16–48 km) above the planet’s surface. They aid in defending the globe against dangerous solar radiation.
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