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Destruction Of The Ozone Layer

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586 words
Science & Nature

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Concern with the environment is being voiced by people throughout
the world. Today, it is not unusual to read about environmental problems.
One problem that is important to all of us is the depletion of the ozone
layer. One question being asked is, does the depletion of the ozone cause
a danger to our health? Many experts would say yes. Today, the ozone is
depleting in the summer as well as in the winter and not just over
Antarctica, but over other countries such as the United States. Many
countries are starting to take steps to help reduce the depletion of the
ozone. However, all countries in the world need to do more.
"Ozone is a form of oxygen that is present in the Earth's
atmosphere in small amounts." The presence of ozone makes it possible for
life on Earth. Ozone is made naturally by photochemical and discharge
reactions. Photochemical production occurs when, " high energy radiation
from the sun strikes ordinary oxygen molecules in the upper atmosphere."
Lightening and sparks from motors also convert oxygen to ozone ( Stoker 1).
The question about the destruction of the ozone layer revolves
around whether human-made CFCs (chloroflurocarbons) used in air-
conditioners and refrigerators are breaking it down. This is the ozone
thinning theory: "CFCs release chlorine into the stratosphere... leading to
ozone destruction and exposing the planet to harmful ultraviolet rays."
Critics who discount the thinning theory still say that chlorine comes from
natural sources like volcanic eruptions and does no permanent damage
(Brooks 422).
NASA researches claim that they have evidence that shows CFCs are
to blame for ozone depletion. Natural chlorine is only about 1/5 of the
chlorine in the stratosphere because most of it dissolves in the rain water
before it reaches the ozone (Brooks 422). Oceans and volcanoes do release
large amounts of chlorine, but this chlorine dissolves easily in water and
washes out in the rain ("Some Commonly Asked Questions about Ozone
Depletion" 1).
CFCs, on the other hand, do not dissolve in water. They do not
break down in the lower atmosphere. When CFC's get to the stratosphere,

The ultraviolet radiation from the sun causes them to break apart
and release chlorine atoms. Then the chlorine atoms which react
with ozone, start chemical cycles of ozone destruction that
the ozone layer ("Some Commonly Asked Questions About Ozone
Depletion" 1).

A single chlorine atom can break apart at least 100,000 ozone molecules
( Some Commonly Asked Questions About Ozone Depletion 1). The chlorine
attaches to the oxygen atoms and breaks the ozone molecule apart (Brooks
422). A single CFC molecule stays in the atmosphere for 50-200 years
( Song 2).
There are many consequences involved in the destruction of the
Ozone layer. One consequence is the increase in Ultraviolet Rays that
reach the Earth. Scientists have now found that the, "Earth's protective
ozone shield is thinning not only in the winter but also in the summer when
the sun's ultraviolet rays are the worst ..." ("Forecast: Cancerously
Sunny" 22). The ozone shields most of these rays that are harmful to all
creatures. Ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) is very harmful to humans. It
burns human skin and it damages eyes. Some think not only human eyes, but
the eyes of other animals can be damaged. ...

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Keywords: destruction of the ozone layer is caused by, destruction of the ozone layer primarily occurs, damage of the ozone layer, destruction of the ozone depletion, how much of the ozone layer has been destroyed, why is the destruction of the ozone layer dangerous

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