Essay on the Harmful Effects of Ozone Depletion

1. The ozone layer serves as an umbrella or protective shield of the troposphere and saves the earth's surface from most of the ultraviolet solar radiation by absorbing ultra-violet rays. As results of ozone depletion, the increased ultraviolet solar radiation in turn would raise the temperature of the earth and thus effect line forms as well as the environment.

It has been found that ozone layer over the Indo-Gangetic basin is getting depleted. Because of weakening of ozone layer, there will be less absorption of ultraviolet radiation and hence more ultraviolet rays will reach the earth's surface and consequently its temperature will increase.

The substantial increase in the surface temperature of the earth would cause global warming at regional and global levels. Due to ozone depletion, more ultraviolet radiation is coming on the earth. It causes skin cancer and diseases of eyes.

2. Thinning of ozone layer allows more ultra violet radiation to reach the earth. As a result, change in climate, reduction in crop yields, disrupting marine food chains and obstructing photosynthesis is noticed.

3. Ultra violet radiation affects health of people; growing number of skin cancers, cataracts, genetic changes and inability of human systems to respond to infection are some of the diseases that afflict people.

4. UV-radiation can cause skin burns, melanoma skin cancer, leukemia, breast cancer, lung cancer, photokeratitis, etc.

5. UV-radiation may damage the genetic material, DNA leading to mutation.

6. UV-radiation injures plant proteins and causes depletion of chlorophylls and mutations.

7. The depletion of ozone layer will induce eye cancer in cattle.

8. The depletion of ozone layer leads to the loss of various plants from terrestrial and aquatic habitats.

9. It will reduce the crop productivity.

10. It will bring significant changes in the climate.

11. Due to the depletion of ozone layer, UV-radiation may cause Green house effect changing the global energy.

12. Due to UV exposure, phytoplankton will die, productivity will decrease, which will affect the zooplanktons consumers will race the deficit of food. Decrease in fish population will affect the population which depends on fish.

13. Irreversible and photo reversible type of injuries can be caused by UV radiations.

14. Ozone can cause lesions to plants.

15. Fruit and vegetable yield will decline significantly leading to crop loss.

16. Intense UV radiation can cause evaporation of surface water, decreasing soil moisture content and through stomata.

17. Ozone reacts with fibers like cotton, nylon and polyester and dyes etc.

18. Ozone layer depletion may lead to significant changes in the climate.

19. By releasing a huge quantities of ozone eaters like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), nitrous oxide and sulphur-dioxide (SO,) into the atmosphere, the global temperature is increasing, which may lead to melting of glaciers and ice caps, which in turn will raise the water height submerging many coastal areas. Many cities will be under­water.

UV rotations due to ozone layer depletion may cause Green House Effect changing the global energy. Now scientists are trying to phase out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which cause ozone destruction. They are trying to inject Alkanes(ethane or propane) into Antarctic's atmosphere.

The alkanes would rapidly react with the ozone eating chlorine atoms, thus immobilizing them. By protecting the ozone of the stratosphere, we can protect the human beings, all plants and animals, ecosystems and finally biosphere, from destruction.

How to Control it

1. Replacing CFCs by other materials which are less damaging is one approach. The studies have shown that CFCs already released persist the atmosphere for very long periods, nearly 100 years, and continue to damage ozone layer, even if their usage is stopped forthwith.

Studies also reveal that global warming may also contribute to ozone depletion. Use of gases such as methyl bromide which is a crop fumigant is also to be controlled. In 1987, it was agreed to phase out the ozone-depleting chemicals at a Convention in Montreal. Since then, many industrialized countries have stopped producing and using CFCs.

2. The use of plastic foam has to be boycotted.

3. The use of CFCs in aerosol, spray cans, egg crates etc. should be banned and available substitutes should be used.

4. Suitable procedures should be adopted to recapture the CFCs released from the air- conditioner and refrigerator servicing units.

5. Stringent international and national laws are to be promulgated to see that ozone layer remains intact without destruction.

Now the scientists are trying to phase out CFCs by injecting different alkanes (ethane, propane, etc.) into Antarctica atmosphere. These alkanes are capable of capture in the chlorine radicals, responsible for ozone depletion obtained from CFCs.