The Depletion Of The Ozone Layer & Its Harmful Impact On health

Education News | Aug-21-2023

The Depletion Of The Ozone Layer & Its Harmful Impact On health

Ozone (O3), which is made up of three oxygen atoms, is a powerful and responsive gas that creates a safeguarding barrier in the stratosphere, explicitly ranging from 15km to 30km in height. This barrier effectively protects the Earth from the harmful effects of Ultra Violet (UV) radiation.

It is a well-established fact that UV radiation is detrimental to both human health and the Earth's atmosphere. Prolonged exposure can result in severe consequences such as skin cancer, cataracts, and weakened immune systems. Therefore, it is crucial to take appropriate measures to protect oneself and the environment from the harmful effects of UV radiation.

In 1985, the Antarctic ozone hole measuring 28.4 million km2 was discovered by the British scientific team of Joseph Farman, Brian Gardiner, and Jonathan Shanklin. Their pioneering work at the Halley Research Station in Antarctica led to the first-ever report on the depletion of the ozone layer during springtime.
Chlorine and bromine atoms in the atmosphere are responsible for the thinning of the ozone layer. The destruction rate of ozone exceeds its formation rate. Ozone-depleting substances (ODS) are compounds that release bromine and chlorine upon exposure to UV rays. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are examples of ODS that release chlorine, while halons and methyl bromide are ODS that release bromine.

After observing the detrimental effects of CFCs on the ozone layer, numerous countries banned their use as aerosols. Despite this, their production continued to rise due to the discovery of fresh applications for them in appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners.

It is important to note that ozone can be detrimental to human health. When inhaled, it can react chemically with lung tissues which can lead to inflammation, irritation, chest tightening, coughing, and worsening of asthma symptoms. Thus, individuals who have asthma, are older adults or engage in outdoor activities should take extra precautions to protect their health.

1. To minimize the potential harm to you and your loved ones caused by the ozone layer, it is recommended that you take these actions:

2. Limit your time spent outdoors or in areas with high ozone levels.

3. Participate in less physically demanding outdoor activities such as walking

Only venture outside during times of low ozone levels, such as early morning or evening.

In conclusion, ozone has both positive and negative effects. While it protects us, it can harm our respiratory system. To protect ourselves, we should take precautions such as using sunscreen, wearing hats and sunglasses, and reducing the use of CFCs and ODS. Additionally, we should allow the hole above the Antarctic to recover.

By : Shourya Rawat
Rainbow School