Ozone depletion

It’s high time and if you do not know "what is the ozone layer?" and how does it affect our daily lives, then it’s the perfect time because the ozone layer could affect us massively in the future

What is meant by an ozone layer?

The ozone layer is a thin layer in the earth’s atmosphere which protects the earth from the harmful ultraviolet rays and reflects it into space, to put it in simple words, It protects us from the harmful rays of the sun.

Why is the depletion such a big deal?

Wonder what is the prime reason for not living in other planets, why Earth is suitable for the living conditions because of the – TEMPERATURE.

Earth has an optimum temperature which allows in the existence of plants as well as animals, the reason for the optimum temperature is:

  • Optimum distance

  • Ozone layer

If any of those are altered, the temperature will increase drastically.

Let me give you an example of how the ozone layer helps us in survival, let us assume there is a thin patch in the ozone layer which is less than 10 kilometer, Which may not seem a problem here, but the citizens living directly under the hole would be ordered to flee from their home and would be declared as an national emergency, if the rays would be in a direct contact touch the skin of humans or animals it would either result in:

  • Immediate burns

  • Rashes

  • Skin cancer

  • Aging

  • Wrinkles

  • Damage to skin cells

And when in direct contact with your Eyes:

  • burns

  • permanent blindness

Generally, the plants are considered as a great shield against sunlight and if watered regularly you would hardly see a plant coping with a situation where it is in need of immediate watering or dryness , but without the ozone layer things would be different:

  • Alteration of DNA

  • Loss of chlorophyll( which means there would not be green plants any more)

  • Most of them would dry out and eventually die.

  • Loss of Oxygen around the atmosphere.

Causes of depletion of the ozone layer:

1. Chlorofluorocarbons: This compound is considered as the prime reason for the depletion of the ozone layer.

Emission – These are mostly emitted by air conditioners, aerosols spray, and fridge.

Process- When released into the environment these compounds drift into the atmosphere until they come into contact with another element to react although in most of the cases they usually come in contact with the ozone layer which are is made up of compounds of ozone(O3) which is made up of 3 atoms of oxygen.

On coming in contact with the UV rays the chlorine atom breaks off the compound, when 1 Chlorine atom reacts with 3 atoms of oxygen, one atom of chlorine and oxygen will form the compound chlorine monoxide and the remaining two atoms of oxygen will form the element Oxygen (O2). It is estimated that 1 compound of CFC can destroy up to 1000 Ozone compounds.

Note- Unregulated rocket launches are more damaging to the ozone layer than the CFCs because they realize Chlorine atoms directly into the stratosphere after which it reacts with the ozone compounds as explained above.

2. Halon- This is not much used by the daily appliances around us and can be very useful to put the fire off as it absorbs the Oxygen around it.

Chemical formula: CBrF3 (1 carbon atom, 1 bromine atom, and 3 fluorine atom)

Process: The process of how the Halon depletes the ozone layer is very similar to that of CFC, except this time bromine reacts along with fluorine with the oxygen.

3. Nitrogenous compounds- These are considered as an underrated influence on the ozone layer (in a negative way) scientists predict

That these are depleting the ozone layer rapidly and will continue to do so throughout the 21st century.

Why would these have a greater influence on the ozone layer than the CFCs?

The CFCs were discovered as early as the 1990s as a “prime factor” for the depletion of the ozone layer towards which many countries have worked on progressively and now we could say it is almost under control, while on the other side of the coin, Nitrogenous compounds “also damage the ozone layer” was discovered recently and scientist are still finding a way to control which is a dilemma as the atmosphere has 78% percent of nitrogen composition, and the scientist would have a hard time figuring it out.

Solutions as an individual:

To answer that let us focus on what are causing the problems:

CFCs – They are emitted from the ACs, Fridge, and aerosols sprays (deodorant, room freshener).

We all can try to reduce to use of these, and if possible completely stop the usage of these items.

You could also regularly maintain your ACs by cleaning out their filters to prevent the leakage of extra CFCs.

Even maintaining your motor vehicle could largely help as they emit certain gases which largely degrades the Ozone layer.

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