Ozone Depletion: Protect the Protective Layer
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The ozone layer in our stratosphere is about 20 kilometers thick. It acts as a protective blanket for earth by absorbing UV radiation before it can reach earth's surface and all of its inhabitants. This natural protection has been slowly destroyed by man made chemicals called ozone depleting substances (ODS).
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are one example of an ODS and they account for over 80% of total destruction to the ozone layer. In the stratosphere, CFCs are broken down by UV light to release chloride ions. Then the chloride ions react with ozone molecules to produce ClO and oxygen. The ClO joins with an oxygen atom to form more oxygen gas and release a chloride ion. This leaves a free chloride ion to destroy another ozone molecule, repeating the cycle over and over causing a depletion of ozone.
With a decrease in the ozone layer, health risks to both humans and animals increases exponentially. Some risks include sunburns, skin cancer, blindness and cataracts (clouding of the lens). Plankton are dangerously threatened by UV radiation, which could cause a disruption in the oceanic food chain. Also, the photosynthetic rates in plants can dramatically decrease due to damage and mutation to plant cells.
By halting the production and use of ozone depleting substances, we can help repair the ozone layer and prevent further harmful outcomes. By signing this petition, you pledge to stop the use of ozone depleting substances and to help the ozone layer recover. Some ways you can do this are by avoiding pesticides, unplugging electronics when they are not in use, buying energy efficient appliances, carpooling or walking as frequently as possible, and planting multiple trees to help absorb the harmful UV rays.
Over time, with everyone working together, we can restore our ozone to a more healthy level, and help save lives throughout the world.