Ozone depletion is a problem that is becoming more and more well known to people around the world in the recent years. Laws have been enacted in the past few decades regulating the use of objects with ozone depleting substances, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), but the problem has not yet been completely solved. The greatest issue lies in the fact that, while only present in small amounts in our atmosphere, ozone functions to shield us from harmful ultraviolet rays. Therefore, it is very important to work to stop the depletion of the ozone layer. Generally, ozone is constantly produced and destroyed in the atmosphere in a natural cycle. However, disrupting this balance that has existed for centuries is the large increases in stratospheric chlorine and bromine. These substances cause ozone to be destroyed faster than the natural ozone reactions produce the ozone. The falling ozone levels are a result of this process. When CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances are emitted into the atmosphere, the results can be drastic. First, the winds mix the troposphere and evenly distribute the gases. After several years, the molecules of these aforementioned harmful substances reach the stratosphere – about 10 kilometers above Earth’s surface. This is where the damage begins… Breaking apart the molecule, strong UV light causes CFCs, HCFCs, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform, and other gases release chlorine atoms, while halons and methyl bromide release bromine atoms. It is these atoms that actually destroy ozone. Needless to say, it is highly important for people to work to solve the problem of ozone depletion. This site provides an overview of ozone depletion as well as possible solutions for the every-day person to do their part in the fight against ozone depletion.
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