Contributed by: Anjali Dharra
Did you know today we have completed 35 years of ozone layer protection? You must be surprised and thinking about whether it’s been that long since we protected our ozone layer; a molecule (strong antioxidant) that proves to be a safeguard for life on the planet.
September 16 is commemorated as ‘World Ozone Day’ every year to spread awareness among current and future generations for protecting the lower region of the earth’s atmosphere.
The theme for World Ozone Day 2022:
September 16 is marked to observe the completion of 35 years of the Montreal Protocol. ‘Montreal Protocol@35: global cooperation protecting life on earth‘ is the theme for the year 2022. It is the day that tells people why it is important to save the ozone layer, as it protects mankind from harmful radiation emitted by the sun.
World Ozone Day history
The Montreal Protocol Corporation was developed in 1987 to reduce the concentration of ozone-depleting compounds in the atmosphere and to halt their use, manufacturing, and import in order to safeguard the earth’s ozone layer. Then, in 1994, the UN General Assembly adopted September 16 to be observed as World Ozone Day.
You must have heard that the ozone layer is depleting day by day. There are so many reasons behind the ozone layer depletion and the ozone hole, including:
Chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs Natural gasesNitrogenous compoundsUnregulated launch of Rockets
Let’s take a pledge on ‘World Ozone Day‘ to make as many possible attempts to preserve the ozone layer for ourselves and our future generations.
When was World Ozone Day first celebrated?
World Ozone Day was first celebrated on September 16, 1994, when the UN General Assembly declared it an important worldwide event. This is also the day when the Montreal Protocol Corporation was launched in 1987.
Did you know how World Ozone Day is celebrated? People all over the world hold talks and seminars to spread awareness about the ozone layer so that people can get as much information about the present situation as possible and start taking necessary steps.
What is the ozone layer?
The ozone layer is the lowest portion of the earth’s stratosphere that contains a large proportion of ozone. Ozone is a strong antioxidant that is made of three molecules of oxygen and is often referenced as O3 (far more so than oxygen).
Did you know the ozone layer has the potential to imbibe 97-99% of the harmful ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun that can affect the life of humankind on earth? Because of this fact, the ozone layer protects the earth from harmful ultraviolet rays.
If the ozone layer is depleted, the human population would develop a number of skin diseases as well as have a weakened immune system to fight against infections.
One must know how the ozone is formed. Heat and sunlight cause chemical reactions between hydrocarbons such as nitrogen oxides and volatile organic substances resulting in the formation of the ozone layer. These reactions can develop near the surface or high in the atmosphere.
What is ozone layer depletion?
Ozone layer depletion is the thinning of the ozone layer in the earth’s upper atmosphere. This mainly happens when chlorine and bromine in the atmosphere come into contact with ozone and destroy this strong antioxidant (ozone molecules).
Did you know one chlorine atom can destroy 100,000 ozone molecules? Yes, it happens, and they destroy more easily and quickly than they create.
What are the major concerns about ozone layer depletion?
Scientists have identified a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica. This has drawn their attention to numerous environmental problems and solutions as a result. Chlorofluorocarbons, carbon tetrachloride, methyl bromide, and hydrochlorofluorocarbons are the primary causes of the ozone hole.
A few of the well-known ozone-depleting substances and the sources from which they are released are:
Chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs
Chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, are the main concern for ozone layer depletion and the ozone hole. Chlorofluorocarbons are manufactured chemicals released by solvents, air conditioners, spray aerosols, dry cleaning agents, and refrigerators, to name a few.
All these chemicals release chlorine atoms and destroy ozone molecules.
The nitrogenous compounds NO2, NO, and N2O are largely to blame for the ozone layer’s thinning.
Unregulated rocket launches
According to studies, the ozone layer is destroyed considerably more quickly by uncontrolled rocket launches than it is by CFCs. By 2050, the ozone layer might have lost a significant amount of its thickness if this is not regulated.
It has been discovered that some natural processes, such as solar flares and stratospheric winds, degrade the ozone layer. However, it only contributes to 1 to 2% of the ozone layer loss.
The ozone layer is being destroyed due to volcanic eruptions as well.
What if there is no ozone layer?
The depletion of the ozone layer has ample adverse effects on the environment as well as human beings.
Impacts on human health
As the ozone layer thins, people will be directly exposed to the sun’s dangerous UV radiation. Humans may have severe health problems as a result, including skin conditions, cancer, sunburns, cataracts, rapid ageing, and weakened immune systems.
Impacts on animals
Animals that are directly exposed to UV light develop skin and eye cancer.
Impacts on the environment
Strong UV radiation may prevent plants from growing, blooming, or performing photosynthesis. The detrimental effects of UV light must also be endured by the woodlands.
Impacts on marine life
The impact of damaging UV light exposure on plankton is significant. Higher in the aquatic food chain are these. The species that are part of the food chain are also impacted by the destruction of plankton.
Possible solutions to ozone layer depletion
There are many programmes in place by the governments of many nations to stop the destruction of the ozone layer, which is a severe concern. To stop the ozone layer from being destroyed, however, action must also be taken on a personal level.
The following are some ideas that could aid in stopping this issue on a worldwide scale:
Don’t use ozone-depleting substances (ODSs)
The use of ozone-depleting chemicals should be decreased. For instance, replace halon-based fire extinguishers with alternatives, avoid using CFCs in refrigerators and air conditioners, etc.
Reduce the use of vehicles
Cars produce a lot of greenhouse gases, which contribute to ozone depletion and global warming. Therefore, it is best to limit the usage of automobiles as much as possible.
Utilize green cleaning supplies
The majority of cleaning solutions contain chemicals that release chlorine and bromine into the air and have an impact on the ozone layer. To conserve the environment, natural alternatives should be used in their place.
Nitrous oxide use ought to be prohibited
The usage of dangerous nitrous oxide, which is harming the ozone layer, should be outlawed by the government. To reduce its use, nitrous oxide’s negative consequences and the goods that emit the gas should be made known to the public.
We have one earth and one ozone. We should “Act as a Whole to Protect the Hole”. The fear of its continuous depletion has propelled mankind to advance attempts to preserve our atmosphere and shield ourselves from the sun’s rays.
As it is said by Saint Rampal Ji – “The world looks at the scientists. Why not pray to the supreme God who made science”?
We should understand this and take as many possible steps in order to preserve the natural beauty: OZONE; a molecule that saves us from so many health and environmental consequences.
As the depletion of the ozone has been happening for a long time it can cause major health and skin setbacks, therefore it is advisable to go for genetic testing to know about any predispositions or you can go for a full body health checkup to keep track of your health and body vitals.