The protective layer surrounding the Earth, Ozone is depleting day by day due to rapid industrialization and increased emission of chlorofluorocarbons. Apart from the harmful effects of chemicals, hiked exposure to ultraviolet rays harms us and the environment.
The following article talks about these effects, and how we can protect ourselves & the environment.
Ozone layer depletion has been first spotted at the beginning of 1970 during springtime, i.e., September to November over Antarctica. Since then, with the rising use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), it is depleting gradually.
2020 saw the most rapid growth of ozone holes spread over most of the Antarctic continent in almost a month. The scientists said it was the most profound and enormous whole since the monitoring started 40 years ago.
- Effects on Human
Excessive exposure to UVB rays put human health in a tight spot. It is far more severe than a burn. It can affect our body internally and externally, from the immune system to skin, eyes, etc.; it is malignant for us.
Overexposure of eyes to UVB can affect lens, cornea, membrane, and other parts gravely. It has resulted in ‘Snow Blindness’ in various regions, including high altitude snowy areas.
UVB rays are also becoming a reason for premature aging and skin cancer, as it is most exposed to radiation. Since the radiation’s intensity increases during summer, it can penetrate easily through thin-skinned people hiking the risk of melanoma cancer.
- Effects on Wildlife and plants
Ultraviolet rays hamper the growth of green species and plants, reducing food supply globally for humans and Wildlife, leading to soil erosion, water loss, etc. Unlike humans and plants, Wildlife has a thick skin that protects them from UVB rays, but they cannot be protected artificially.
- Effects on Marine life
UVB can reach 20 meters down in clear water, which directly impacts planktons, which form the foundation of the aquatic food web and other light-dependent organisms. Multiple scientists and environmental organizations are saying that a slight increase in UVB rays can dramatically impact the entire marine ecosystem.
All lives are interconnected with the environment. Any imbalance can result in severe disruption of the biological process. Hence, it is critical to protect the natural filter of the Earth before it is too late.
The most significant step taken globally to address ozone depletion was the Montreal Protocol, signed by every county in 1987, and it became the most successful environmental story.
The main objective of the protocol was to restrict the production & consumption of chlorofluorocarbons, methyl, halon, and other ozone-depleting products.
It has shown some positive results as the usage was reduced by almost 98%, and the ozone layer is moving towards the path of recovery. But these results do not mean that it is fully healed because these substances remain in the atmosphere for years, continuing damaging. Along with controlling the production, we need to ensure that no other chemicals emerge that can threaten ozone.
What can we do?
- Try to stay indoors between 11:00 am till 4:00 pm as the sun is at its peak.
- If you are going out, don’t forget to apply SPF sunscreen to protect you from radiation.
- Try to wear caps or large hats, sunglasses, long sleeve light-colored cotton clothes to pass air and block sun rays.
Ozone depletion needs constant discussions and actions if we want to save the Earth from harmful radiation. Please try to follow government regulations and try to limit or replace ozone-depleting substances.
Let’s move forward and fight to save our planet for a healthy and secure present & future.