Are you below 10 years old? Read the article below. If not, scroll further down.
The Ozone Layer is a part of our atmosphere, which means that it is in the sky. It protects us from the UV rays of the sun. UV rays are very harmful for us, and they can hurt us badly if we don’t cover and protect ourselves. But thankfully, the Ozone Layer comes to the rescue, and helps keep out all the bad UV rays!
The sad news is that the Ozone Layer is breaking, and it is because of us! It is breaking because we pollute the air too much. How can we save it? It’s easy!
We need to:
Tell your parents to buy 5 star appliances (machines like the fridge and the AC) only! When you throw away your machines, they start polluting a LOT! Tell them to throw it away properly and read this article!
For people above or 10 years old.
Ozone is a colourless gas, formed from oxygen by electrical discharges or ultraviolet light. (Simplified: it is a gas without any colour).
The ozone layer is the part of our atmosphere where there is a high concentration of Ozone (O3). It lies in the Stratosphere, the second layer of our atmosphere, and absorbs the harmful UV rays of the sun. UV rays, or ultraviolet rays, are harmful if exposed to excessively, and can cause problems like cataract (affects eye) and even skin cancer.
Here is how the process goes:-
- We are exposed to the ultraviolet radiation. After a while, our skin starts to tan. This is because of the melanin, a pigment in our skin.
- We get sunburned.
- Later in life, after a lot of exposure to UV rays, skin diseases start to occur.
However, UV Rays aren’t entirely harmful, as they provide us heat that we require and are necessary for our bodies to produce Vitamin D. The ozone layer does not totally block out the UV rays, but instead filter some of it out.
Have you heard of the hole in the ozone layer? It isn’t a literal hole, but it is thinner than the rest of the layer at that point. The ozone hole allows UV Rays to pass through and greatly harms living beings on earth. The ozone hole was discovered in 1985 above Antarctica by Joe Farman, Brian Gardiner and Jonathan Shanklin.
Ozone Hole found above Antarctica in 1985
The ozone was getting depleted due to the Methyl Bromide, Halons and CFCs (or Chlorofluorocarbons) produced by humans while disposing of appliances, using aerosols etc. CFC was invented by Thomas Midgley, and has been banned because it is environmentally unsafe.
On discovering the ozone hole depletion, many foundations and activist organisations took action. Many meetings were held to discuss solutions to these problems. The most famous were:-
- Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer in 1985
- Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1987 (in which 197 countries signed a treaty to phase out harmful substances like CFCs).
- Rwana HFC Agreement (to phase out hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, which are also harmful).
Credits – to TED-Ed for the video on skin colour (click to watch). To pitara.com & en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozone_depletion for the pictures.