NASA reports ozone depletion record low in March and these reports hit our heads hard to preserve and repair ozone layer.
By Dr. Unaisa Tubba Mushtaq
With the discovery of ozone layer in 1913, a new chapter of climate changes and environment protection has been opened. Ozone layer is present approximately 15 to 35 km above earth. This gas can be produced by the action of ultraviolet radiation on oxygen in the stratosphere where it acts as a shield for ultraviolet radiation that’s why preservation of ozone layer is so important. Actually ozone gas is not only present in stratosphere boundary but also on our earth. But beware of its high concentration on earth because it is as dangerous as good.
Why is ozone layer important?
If ozone gas is not good for human health then one should ask why that layer is so important. Ozone molecule which is made up of three oxygen atoms constantly undergoes catalytic and analytic process due to bombardment of UV radiations. In this way Ozone layer works as a soldier when it’s a fight between living creatures of earth and ultraviolet rays of sun. This thin layer absorbs harmful shorter wavelength ultraviolet radiations and protects us from direct exposure of these hazardous radiations.
Depletion of ozone layer:
Since 1985, when Joe Farman first announced ozone layer depletion scientists bowed their heads down to find out how to control its depletion. Ozone depletion get worsened when holes in ozone layer has been found over Antarctic. That was the region of exceptionally depleted ozone in the stratosphere. A hole is created when thickness goes to 100 Dobson units. Reports confirmed that Concentrations of ozone has depleted by as much as 50% of the normal at altitude of 18km.
Causes of depletion:
Studies proved that a major cause of ozone layer depletion is release of chlorofluorocarbons and halons. Surprisingly major causes of release of these gases include human activities. These chemicals are found in:
- Many Cleaning agents.
- Blowing agents which are used for home furnishing and packing.
- Aerosols including foams and refrigerants.
- Carbon tetrachloride is used as cleaning agent in many textile and electronic industries.
Factories and homes spew out CFC’S. Sunlight breaks them down in the stratosphere. Broken down products of these CFC’S destroy the ozone layer. Thus we are weakening our boundaries and causing our roof top to become a threat for us. Protection of ozone layer is getting crucial otherwise introduction with UV radiations will result in drastic effects like skin cancer, immune system and genetic diseases, eye cataracts and major ecology loss of earth. Because lesser the thickening of ozone layer, greater will be the damage.
How to preserve it:
- To preserve ozone layer and to repair it, it is necessary to get rid of chlorofluorocarbons and other ozone depleting molecules. We should use non-ozone depleting substitutes instead. For instance
- Use plastic film bubbles like packing instead of blowing agents.
- Use alternative insulating materials.
- Use of chemical fertilizers in agriculture should be banned and organic ones should be used.
- Use non-HCFCS refrigerators.
- Avoid use of such cosmetics that release chlorofluorocarbons.
Thus the key objective is to ban the use CFCS and related ozone layer depleting chemicals. All over the world not only scientists are doing great efforts in this aspect but also astrologists. In 1994, 16 September was announced as International day for Preservation of ozone layer by United Nations General Assembly. The objective of this day is to spread awareness about methods and tools to protect out this greatest shield which is gifted to us by God. In this respect Montreal Protocol ,which aimed at cutting down of ozone depleting substances, is also working. This is a consequence of combined efforts that since 1990 ozone hole is repairing. World Bank grants Thailand $5m to protect ozone layer and help to repair it as Thailand is one of the biggest supplier of CFC’s.