Tips On What You Can Do To Help Protect Ozone Layer

The ozone layer in the Earth's atmosphere protects us from the harmful ultraviolet rays from the Sun, but it is at risk of depletion. This article explains the problem, what is causing it, the international and local efforts to reduce the production and use of ozone depleting chemicals, and how you can help to protect the ozone layer.

Ozone Layer Depletion
The ozone layer is a shield of ozone gas in the stratosphere, between 15 and 35 km above the Earth's surface. The result of a reaction between ultraviolet light from the Sun and oxygen molecules, it stops most ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching us. However, in 1975 scientists detected a severe drop in ozone levels over Antarctica that repeated each Spring, and by 1987 half of the ozone over the continent had disappeared, creating an enormous "hole" twice the size of the United States. This "hole" in the ozone layer threatens the Earth's environmental balance and human health, with increased cases of skin cancer, eye cataracts and damage to the immune system.

Cases of Ozone Layer Depletion
The stratosphere is being depleted of ozone by man-made chemicals including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, methyl bromide, hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These chemicals are commonly used as cooling agents for refrigerators and air-conditioners, propellants for aerosol sprays, blowing agents in the manufacture of foam and some plastics, fire retardants for extinguishers and in cleaning agents and solvents in industries. In other words, they are widely used in our everyday lives.

What You Can Do?

Although most ozone depleting substances are used in industry and commerce, what you do at home can still make a difference. The most effective way of protecting the ozone layer is to reduce or even stop using ozone depleting chemicals. You can do this by:

  • buying air-conditioners that do not use HCFCs or CFCs as refrigerants;
  • regularly inspecting and maintaining your air-conditioners and refrigeration appliances to minimise refrigerant leaks;
  • recovering and recycling HCFCs and CFCs in air-conditioners and refrigeration appliances when they are serviced; replacing and retrofitting such equipment to operate on non-HCFC and non-CFC refrigerant should also be considered.
Overall, the best way to help protect the ozone layer is to stop buying all products, big and small, that contain ozone depleting substances. Together we can make a difference.



Coffee Lover said...

We all must do our part to protect the environment we all live in.

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