The depletion of the ozone layer is a phenomena that was observed during the later part of the 70s and has since then showed a declining rate of 4% per decade and there is a remarkable decrease over the polar regions of the Earth. The main reason for the destruction of the ozone is by man-made halocarbon refrigerants such as CFCs, halons and freons that are released into the atmosphere and are known as ‘ozone depleting substances’ or ODS. These harmful substances strike the ozone and splits it apart. The ozone depletion has led to a worldwide concern as the thinning protective coat over Earth is letting harmful ultraviolet light pass which has led to many health hazards like skin cancer, damages to plants and plankton as well as cataracts. Therefore many governments have banned products that produce these ODS.
The ozone layer is our warrior against the might Sun that is bombarding earth with harmful UV radiation and we are trying our best to protect it. Ozone is basically a gas also referred to as O3 which is formed and reformed constantly in our Earth’s atmosphere. If it were not for the ozone layer, our Earth would be barren with slight traces of life. It is also being said that the southern hemisphere of the Earth could have an additional 20% depletion of the ozone that could result in natural calamities like tornadoes, avalanches, fires, tsunamis etc. Here are five ways in which we can contribute to protecting the ozone layer and our precious Earth:
1. Limit private vehicle driving
A very easy way to control ozone depletion would be to limit or reduce the amount of driving as vehicular emissions eventually result in smog which is a culprit in the deterioration of the ozone layer. Car pooling, taking public transport, walking, using a bicycle would limit the usage of individual transportation. It would be a great option to switch to cars/vehicles that have a hybrid or electric zero-emission engine.
2. Use eco-friendly household cleaning products
Usage of eco-friendly and natural cleaning products for household chores is a great way to prevent ozone depletion. This is because many of these cleaning agents contain toxic chemicals that interfere with the ozone layer. A lot of supermarkets and health stores sell cleaning products that are toxic-free and made out of natural ingredients.
3. Avoid using pesticides
Pesticides may be an easy solution for getting rid of weed, but are harmful for the ozone layer. The best solution for this would be to try using natural remedies, rather than heading out for pesticides. You can perhaps try to weed manually or mow your garden consistently so as to avoid weed-growth.
4. Developing stringent regulations for rocket launches
The world is progressing in scientific discoveries by leaps and bounds. A lot of rocket launches are happening the world over without consideration of the fact that it can damage the ozone layer if it is not regulated soon. A study shows that the harm caused by rocket launches would outpace the harm caused due to CFCs. At present, the global rocket launches do not contribute hugely to ozone layer depletion, but over the course of time, due to the advancement of the space industry, it will become a major contributor to ozone depletion. All types of rocket engines result in combustion by products that are ozone-destroying compounds that are expelled directly in the middle and upper stratosphere layer – near the ozone layer.
Due to the worldwide alarm caused by a study in the late 70s about the alarming rate at which the ozone was being depleted, nations around the globe got together and formed the Montreal Protocol in the year 1989 with a strong aim to stop the usage of CFCs. However, the protocol did not include nitrous oxide which is the most fatal chemical that can destroy the ozone layer and is still in use. Governments across the world should take a strong stand for banning the use of this harmful compound to save the ozone layer.