First of all, what is Ozone layer? Ozone layer is a natural sunscreen that protects us from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet radiation. This sunscreen contains three oxygen atoms. It is constantly being formed and broken down in the stratosphere (that is the atmosphere layer above the troposphere). The destruction of ozone layer is caused by one factor, “Cholorofluorocarbons”, found commonly in aerosol cans and released by many electronic appliances like
air conditioning. Ozone layer depletion has consequences on humans, animals and plants. This typically results from higher UV levels reaching us on earth, hurting human (and animal) health; this means that it causes, skin cancers, sunburns and premature aging of the skin; eye diseases like blindness: UV radiation can damage several parts of the eye, including the lens, cornea and retina. As I mentioned before, the UV radiations that passes through the ozone layer hole, can have adverse impacts on agriculture, forestry and natural ecosystems: several of the world’s most important crop species are particularly vulnerable to increase UV, resulting in reduced growth, photosynthesis and flowering. These species include wheat, rice, barley, oats, corn, soybeans, peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots.Also the marine life is involved: in particular, plankton (which are tiny organisms in the surface layer of oceans) are threatened by increased UV radiation. Plankton is really important because it is the first vital step in aquatic food chains. This begin as mid-May brings on the onset of winter, the Antarctic stratosphere cools and descends closer to the surface. The Coriolis effect (caused by the earth’s rotation) sets up a strong westerly circulation around the south pole, forming a rectangle shaped vortex which varies in size from year to year. Australia receives a lot more UV radiation than the UK. This means that people living in Australia face up to 15% more solar radiation than we do. Over the past few years, extensions of the Antarctica ozone hole have spread as far as parts of Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands. For sure you’re asking yourselves if there are solutions to this problem, maybe producing our own ozone gas to replenish what, is lost in the
stratosphere. The sun naturally produces ozone with a lot of energy all the time. To do the same thing, we should be looking at using immense energy too, about twice the energy used in the USA. That is just impossible. So in our daily life we can just do this little, but important things: limiting vehicle driving, using eco-friendly house cleaning products, avoiding the use of pesticides, developing stringent regulations for rocket launches and banning the use of dangerous nitrous oxide. These actions will not totally solve the problem, but they can reduce the velocity of the ozone layer degradation.