Hole in the Earths Layer

  • SumoMe


Our planet earth is a storehouse of abundance whose resources are being consumed constantly and relentlessly by us. The world has become so mechanized and industrialized that now we don’t have the time to stop and think that the rate at which we are using up the resources or the rate at which the kind of wastes that we are discharging is depleting the very earth that has given us life. We are slowly degrading and depleting all that this wonderful planet has to offer to us.

Today the number of environmental issues is numerous and they are bound to increase if we carry on like this; starting from global warming, pollution related diseases, different kinds of pollution, ozone layer depletion, acid rain, killing of endangered animals and plants and the list goes on.

One of the issues that is adversely affecting our environment is ozone layer depletion. The ozone layer is a layer in the earth’s atmosphere which contains relatively high concentration of a gas named ozone. It extends from approximately 13 to 20 km above the earths surface in the stratosphere. This layer absorbs 93-99% of the high frequency ultraviolet light from the sun which is potentially damaging to life on earth. Every  molecule of ozone contains 3 atoms of oxygen and is chemically assigned as O3. The ozone in the stratosphere collectively is referred to as the ozone layer. Although it takes up a very small part of the atmosphere, it plays a major role in filtering solar ultraviolet radiation before it proceeds to reach the earth’s surface thereby protecting life on earth from its harmful effects.

The ozone layer in the stratosphere is different from that of the ground-level. In the latter, ozone is an air-pollutant and contributes to the formation of smog over large cities. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), methyl bromides, halons and chlorinated solvents which are widely used in aerosols, cleaning solvents, fumigants and refrigerants are the major contributors to the depletion of the stratospheric ozone. Ozone is formed by a process that requires sunlight; the oxygen molecule in the stratosphere is broken apart by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. This further forms ozone in a different set of chemical reactions in the troposphere.

Ozone is highest near the poles and lowest near the equator because of the seasonal wind patterns in the stratosphere. The depletion of the ozone is causing a gradual thinning of the layer in areas of the globe, mostly over the Antarctic. The damage is mostly caused by chlorofluorocarbons which are synthetic compounds. These are chemically very reactive and stable in the lower atmosphere. They rise without any change through the lowest atmospheric layer, the troposphere.

Reactions that take place in the polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) play an important role in the ozone depletion. PSCs are formed in the extreme cold of the Antarctic stratosphere. Scientists believe that the elevated amounts of chlorine and bromine account for the Antarctic ozone depletion as the depletion was first discovered there. In the Antarctic a special circulation pattern known as the Antarctic polar vertex traps the ozone over the South Pole for several months. The PSC’s foster a basic change in the stratospheric chemistry allowing reaction to occur on the surface rather than between the gas molecule. Therefore the reactions taking place converts chlorine from forms that do not react with ozone to other less stable forms that readily break up in the presence of sunlight and go on destroying the ozone.

The ozone is essential to human life as it protects life on earth from the dangerous ultraviolet radiation that reaches us from the sun. The harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation causes are many; it changes plant form, causes chemical reactions in the melanin of humans, skin cancer and also causes cataracts in the eye which are mostly caused due to overexposure to the sun. One should cover exposed skin with clothing or suitable sunscreen, or wear a hat and wear UV certified sunglasses to protect the eyes.

The only way that this depletion can be stopped is by spreading awareness of these phenomena. Some basic steps that can be taken by us to prevent further damage are by turning off electrical appliances whenever possible, by walking or by taking a public transport thereby the pollution and if not then at least by replacing the old cars with fuel-efficient ones. Schools should increase awareness activities among the children to inculcate the children with knowledge of the problem.

At the economic level depletion of stratospheric ozone emerged as a political concern in the early 1970’s in the United States. In the mid 1970’s  it became a major political issue with regard to the use of CFC’s in aerosol spray cans, and in 1978 the US banned the nonessential use of CFC’s as aerosol propellants. Efforts at negotiating an international agreement controlling CFC use began in the 1980’s and culminated in 1978 Montreal Protocol.

Therefore if all of us take a stand to protect the planet then we can easily combat the environmental issues that are so widely threatening us.

Hole in the Earths Layer

Our planet earth is a storehouse of abundant whose resources we are consuming constantly and relentlessly. The world has become so mechanized and industrialized that now we don’t have the time to stop and think that the rate at which we are using up the resources or the rate at which the kind of wastes that we are discharging is depleting the very earth that has given us life, we are slowly degrading it, depleting all that this wonderful planet has to offer to us.

Today the number of environmental issues is numerous and they are bound to increase if we carry on like this, starting from global warming, pollution related diseases, different kinds of pollution, ozone layer depletion, acid rain killing of endangered animals and plants and the list goes on.

One of the issues that is adversely affecting our environment is ozone layer depletion. The ozone layer is a layer in the earth’s atmosphere which contains relatively high concentration of a gas named ozone. It extends from approximately 13 to 20 km above the earths surface in the stratosphere. This layer absorbs 93-99% of the high frequency suns ultraviolet light which is potentially damaging to life on earth. Each of the molecules of ozone contains 3 atoms of oxygen and is chemically assigned as O3. The large amount of ozone in the stratosphere is often referred to as the ozone layer. Although a small part of the atmosphere it plays a major role in filtering solar ultraviolet radiation before it proceeds to reach the earth’s surface thereby protecting life on earth from its harmful effects.

The ozone in the layer of the stratosphere is different from that of the ground-level, in the latter the ozone is an air-pollutant and contributes to the formation of smog over large cities. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), methyl bromides, halons and chlorinated solvents which are widely used in aerosols, cleaning solvents, fumigants and refrigerants are the major contributors to the depletion of stratospheric ozone. Ozone is formed by a process that requires sunlight; the oxygen molecule in the stratosphere is broken apart by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. This further forms ozone in a different set of chemical reactions in the troposphere.

Ozone is highest near the poles and lowest near the equator because of the seasonal wind patterns in the stratosphere. The depletion of the ozone is causing a gradual thinning of the layer in areas of the globe, mostly over the Antarctic. The damage is mostly caused by chlorofluorocarbons which are synthetic compounds. These are chemically very reactive and stable in the lower atmosphere. They rise without any change through the lowest atmospheric layer the troposphere.

Reactions that are taking place in the polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) play an important role in the ozone depletion. PSCs form readily in extreme cold of the Antarctic stratosphere. Scientists believe that the elevated amounts of chlorine and bromine account for Antarctic ozone depletion as the depletion was first discovered there. In the Antarctic a special circulation pattern known as the Antarctic polar vertex traps the ozone over the South Pole for several months. Within the vortex the scientists have found relatively low concentrations of ozone during the first two weeks of October. The PSCs foster a basic change in the stratospheric chemistry allowing reaction to occur on the surface rather than between the gas molecules therefore the reactions taking place converts chlorine from forms that do not react with ozone to other less stable forms that readily break up in the presence of sunlight and go on destroying the ozone.

The ozone is essential to human life as it protects life on earth from the dangerous ultraviolet radiation that reaches us from the sun. The harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation causes are many; it changes plant form, causes chemical reactions in the melanin of humans, skin cancer and also causes cataracts in the eye which are mostly caused due to overexposure to the sun. One should cover exposed skin with clothing or suitable sunscreen, or wear a hat and wear UV certified sunglasses to protect the eyes.

The only way that this depletion can be stopped is by spreading awareness of these phenomena. Some basic steps that can be taken by us to prevent further damage are by turning off electrical appliances whenever possible, by walking or by taking a public transport thereby the pollution and if not then at least by replacing the old cars with fuel-efficient ones. Schools should increase awareness activities among the children to inculcate the children with knowledge of the problem.

At the economic level depletion of stratospheric ozone emerged as a political concern in the early 1970’s in the United States. In the mid 1970’s  it became a major political issue with regard to the use of CFC’s in aerosol spray cans, and in 1978 the US banned the nonessential use of CFC’s as aerosol propellants. Efforts at negotiating an international agreement controlling CFC use began in the 1980’s and culminated in 1978 Montreal Protocol.

Therefore if all of us take a stand to protect the planet then we can easily combat the environmental issues that are so widely threatening us.

Hole in the Earths Layer

Our planet earth is a storehouse of abundant whose resources we are consuming constantly and relentlessly. The world has become so mechanized and industrialized that now we don’t have the time to stop and think that the rate at which we are using up the resources or the rate at which the kind of wastes that we are discharging is depleting the very earth that has given us life, we are slowly degrading it, depleting all that this wonderful planet has to offer to us.

Today the number of environmental issues is numerous and they are bound to increase if we carry on like this, starting from global warming, pollution related diseases, different kinds of pollution, ozone layer depletion, acid rain killing of endangered animals and plants and the list goes on.

One of the issues that is adversely affecting our environment is ozone layer depletion. The ozone layer is a layer in the earth’s atmosphere which contains relatively high concentration of a gas named ozone. It extends from approximately 13 to 20 km above the earths surface in the stratosphere. This layer absorbs 93-99% of the high frequency suns ultraviolet light which is potentially damaging to life on earth. Each of the molecules of ozone contains 3 atoms of oxygen and is chemically assigned as O3. The large amount of ozone in the stratosphere is often referred to as the ozone layer. Although a small part of the atmosphere it plays a major role in filtering solar ultraviolet radiation before it proceeds to reach the earth’s surface thereby protecting life on earth from its harmful effects.

The ozone in the layer of the stratosphere is different from that of the ground-level, in the latter the ozone is an air-pollutant and contributes to the formation of smog over large cities. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), methyl bromides, halons and chlorinated solvents which are widely used in aerosols, cleaning solvents, fumigants and refrigerants are the major contributors to the depletion of stratospheric ozone. Ozone is formed by a process that requires sunlight; the oxygen molecule in the stratosphere is broken apart by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. This further forms ozone in a different set of chemical reactions in the troposphere.

Ozone is highest near the poles and lowest near the equator because of the seasonal wind patterns in the stratosphere. The depletion of the ozone is causing a gradual thinning of the layer in areas of the globe, mostly over the Antarctic. The damage is mostly caused by chlorofluorocarbons which are synthetic compounds. These are chemically very reactive and stable in the lower atmosphere. They rise without any change through the lowest atmospheric layer the troposphere.

Reactions that are taking place in the polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) play an important role in the ozone depletion. PSCs form readily in extreme cold of the Antarctic stratosphere. Scientists believe that the elevated amounts of chlorine and bromine account for Antarctic ozone depletion as the depletion was first discovered there. In the Antarctic a special circulation pattern known as the Antarctic polar vertex traps the ozone over the South Pole for several months. Within the vortex the scientists have found relatively low concentrations of ozone during the first two weeks of October. The PSCs foster a basic change in the stratospheric chemistry allowing reaction to occur on the surface rather than between the gas molecules therefore the reactions taking place converts chlorine from forms that do not react with ozone to other less stable forms that readily break up in the presence of sunlight and go on destroying the ozone.

The ozone is essential to human life as it protects life on earth from the dangerous ultraviolet radiation that reaches us from the sun. The harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation causes are many; it changes plant form, causes chemical reactions in the melanin of humans, skin cancer and also causes cataracts in the eye which are mostly caused due to overexposure to the sun. One should cover exposed skin with clothing or suitable sunscreen, or wear a hat and wear UV certified sunglasses to protect the eyes.

The only way that this depletion can be stopped is by spreading awareness of these phenomena. Some basic steps that can be taken by us to prevent further damage are by turning off electrical appliances whenever possible, by walking or by taking a public transport thereby the pollution and if not then at least by replacing the old cars with fuel-efficient ones. Schools should increase awareness activities among the children to inculcate the children with knowledge of the problem.

At the economic level depletion of stratospheric ozone emerged as a political concern in the early 1970’s in the United States. In the mid 1970’s  it became a major political issue with regard to the use of CFC’s in aerosol spray cans, and in 1978 the US banned the nonessential use of CFC’s as aerosol propellants. Efforts at negotiating an international agreement controlling CFC use began in the 1980’s and culminated in 1978 Montreal Protocol.

Therefore if all of us take a stand to protect the planet then we can easily combat the environmental issues that are so widely threatening us.

Madhurima Ganguly

Image Source: [http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonycunha/4421905053/sizes/m/]

Share : Share on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter
Read previous post:
social-drinking
Morality of Drinking

Today, social drinking has become an integral part of many functions and events such as dating, marriages, parties and get-togethers....

Close