Asked by: Min
chlorofluorocarbons, earth, environment, ozone, pollution
Help me write my essay on effect is ozone depletion having on the environment.
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Jennifer on Feb 21, 2011
Before I write my essay on ‘ozone depletion’, we need to know what ozone is.
Ozone is a triatomic molecule, consisting of three oxygen atoms. It is an allotrope of oxygen that is much less stable than the diatomic allotrope (O2). Ozone when present in the lower atmosphere is an air pollutant and has harmful effects on the respiratory systems of animals and will burn sensitive plants; however, the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere is beneficial, preventing potentially damaging ultraviolet light from reaching the Earth’s surface. It is also responsible for producing the greenhouse effect. Ozone is present in low concentrations throughout the Earth’s atmosphere. It has many industrial and consumer applications too.
The ozone layer depletion came into knowledge in the mid-1980s. The main cause of this depletion is the release of CFCs, chlorofluorocarbons. Antarctica was an early victim of ozone destruction. A massive hole in the ozone layer right above Antarctica now threatens not only that continent, but many others that could be the victims of Antarctica’s melting icecaps. CFCs are used in industry in a variety of ways, they are used in refrigerators, home insulation, plastic foam, super sonic jets and throwaway food containers.
Every time 1% of the ozone layer is depleted, 2% more UV-B is able to reach the surface of the planet. UV-B increase is one of the most harmful consequences of ozone depletion because it can cause skin cancer. Some researches have even shown that a decreased ozone layer will increase rates of malaria and other infectious diseases. The environment will also be negatively affected by ozone depletion. The life cycles of plants will change, disrupting the food chain. Effects on animals will also be severe. Oceans will be hit hard as well. The most basic microscopic organisms such as plankton may not be able to survive. The whole ecosystem will be under threat.
The CFC problem may be hard to solve because there are already in great quantities in the environment. CFCs would remain in the stratosphere for another 100 years even if none were ever produced again. Despite the difficulties, international action has been taken to limit CFCs. Many countries have signed treaties not to use CFCs. Hope we are able to save our environment and ourselves too.
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