Causes of Ozone Layer Depletion PDF
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The ozone layer is found in the lower portion of the earth’s atmosphere. It has the potential to absorb around 97-99% of the harmful ultraviolet radiations coming from the sun that can damage life on earth. If the ozone layer was absent, millions of people would develop skin diseases and may have weakened immune systems.
Causes of Ozone Layer Depletion
The ozone layer depletion is a major concern and is associated with a number of factors. The main causes responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer are listed below:
- Chlorofluorocarbons: –Chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs are the main cause of ozone layer depletion. These are released by solvents, spray aerosols, refrigerators, air-conditioners, etc. The molecules of chlorofluorocarbons in the stratosphere are broken down by ultraviolet radiations and release chlorine atoms. These atoms react with ozone and destroy it.
- Unregulated Rocket Launches:- Researches say that the unregulated launching of rockets results in much more depletion of the ozone layer than the CFCs do. If not controlled, this might result in a huge loss of the ozone layer by the year 2050.
- Nitrogenous Compounds:-The nitrogenous compounds such as NO2, NO, N2O are highly responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer.
- Natural Causes:-The ozone layer has been found to be depleted by certain natural processes such as Sun-spots and stratospheric winds. But it does not cause more than 1-2% of the ozone layer depletion.Volcanic eruptions are also responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer.
Ozone Layer Depletion
Ozone layer depletion is the thinning of the ozone layer present in the upper atmosphere. This happens when the chlorine and bromine atoms in the atmosphere come in contact with ozone and destroy the ozone molecules. One chlorine can destroy 100,000 molecules of ozone. It is destroyed more quickly than it is created.
Some compounds release chlorine and bromine on exposure to high ultraviolet light, which then contributes to ozone layer depletion. Such compounds are known as Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS).
The ozone-depleting substances that contain chlorine include chlorofluorocarbon, carbon tetrachloride, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and methyl chloroform. Whereas, the ozone-depleting substances that contain bromine are halons, methyl bromide, and hydro bromofluorocarbons.
Chlorofluorocarbons are the most abundant ozone-depleting substance. It is only when the chlorine atom reacts with some other molecule, it does not react with ozone.
Montreal Protocol was proposed in 1987 to stop the use, production, and import of ozone-depleting substances and minimize their concentration in the atmosphere to protect the ozone layer of the earth.
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