The amount of ozone that is present in the stratosphere has been decreasing over time, and the situation worsened from 1998 to the present. The largest gap ever recorded was in 2000 when the hole size reached 29.9 million km² and the ozone mass deficit stood at 43 million tons. In 2017 the figure stood at 20 million km² of hole, which means that the ozone layer recovers timidly over time, but it’s estimated that it won’t be restored until at least 2080, if the necessary measures are taken for it.
Why is the ozone layer being destroyed?
Because the emissions of all kinds of gases caused by human activity destroy the molecules of this substance so important for life.
As a curious fact, we want to highlight that the ozone hole is currently located in the Antarctic area. Although it sounds incongruous since gases are emitted mainly in developed countries, the fact is that these gases move according to the rotation of the planet, which benefits from lower temperatures. Therefore, the destruction of the ozonosphere is greater the lower the temperature, so it becomes more evident in winter.
Like any other process that takes place in nature, we talk about self-controlled procedures, whose destruction or recreation, in this case of ozone, remain in a perfect balance that has been broken by human action through multiple causes.
Chemical products with high concentrations of bromine (Br) and nitrogen oxide (NOX), which are mainly present in fertilizers.
Aerosols and coolants: they are the products that have a greater responsibility in the destruction of the ozonosphere. The main gases are chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs, halocarbons, solvents, propellants and halons*. These types of gases, until recently, were present in all kinds of materials of our daily use, such as aerosols (deodorants, air fresheners, insecticides, cleaning products, etc.), air conditioners, appliances, solvents, etc. All these products carried, among others, a considerable content of chlorine (Cl), which directly affected the destruction of ozone.
Global warming or climate change: felling and burning of forests, erosion caused by the growth of cities, melting of glaciers, sea level rise, air pollution, rivers and seas and multiple industrial activities have led to slowly raise the global temperature of the planet. And this also causes a decrease in the thickness of the ozone layer. And precisely, in this case, this damage is bidirectional, since the larger the hole in the ozone layer, the higher the Earth's temperature will be.
*Halons are compounds that are made up of Bromo, Fluorine and Carbon. They are characterized as substances with great capacity to damage the ozone layer since they contain bromine, which is the most effective atom in the destruction of ozone.
And all of this has been caused by the unconsciousness of man. Luckily, a large part of aerosol and refrigerant manufacturers have removed these harmful elements from their products.
However, the damage they have already caused to the atmosphere may take more than 100 years to disappear. In addition, according to considerations of the World Meteorological Organization, although we stop using all of these products, their harmful repercussions would remain on the planet for decades.
Negative consequences for our health
The destruction of the ozone layer -which has become so severe that it has caused holes in certain parts of the stratosphere- carries multiple consequences, both for human health and for vegetation and land and marine animals.
As for the consequences for humans, the main ones are:
Skin cancer: it’s the disease more directly related to the increase in UV-B radiation. In this sense, it’s recommended to always use sun protection since the effects that solar radiation has on our body, at first glance, are not noticeable, but they appear over the years and can be very harmful.
Affectation to the immune system: UV-B radiation modifies molecules of our DNA causing the reduction of our immune system's ability to protect us from all kinds of infectious diseases, thus causing irreparable damage to our body.
Respiratory problems: the ozone increase in the lower layers of the atmosphere causes problems in the respiratory system, such as asthma.
Skin diseases: not only skin cancer, but allergies and dermatitis have also increased exponentially.
Eye diseases: vision alterations in cataracts, presbyopia or eye infections have also increased.
Regarding to animals, the consequences are very similar to those for humans, but also causes changes in emigration and ecosystems.
Regarding to marine fauna, ultraviolet radiation has a significant impact on seas and oceans, causing a considerable reduction of phytoplankton, which is the basis of the food supply of the entire food chain.
And regarding to plants, radiation decreases the effectiveness of photosynthesis of plant species and affects both flowering times and their growth and harvests of agricultural products.
If we think about it, all these facts are affecting us as a society directly and indirectly. And as a society, we are the responsible for all these facts. The question is, do we still believe that our actions will not have their respective consequences in the future?
Do we still not realize that today we are already suffering the effects of our actions?
What actions can we take to take care of ozone layer?
If thanks to this blog you have become aware of the importance of taking care of our planet, we take this opportunity to give you some options to prevent the destruction of the ozone layer:
Avoid the use, in general, of aerosols, especially those containing CFCs.
Completely avoid all products containing halons, such as some fire extinguishers.
Use public transport or alternatives that generate 0 emissions, such as bicycles, scooters and electric vehicles.
Avoid the use of fertilizers containing methyl bromide, also harmful to the ozone layer. There are alternatives no harmful to the planet.
Promote local consumption, since it doesn’t involve the emission of pollutant gases by transport vehicles.
Use energy saving light bulbs such as LEDs.
And don’t forget it, don’t think that your actions won’t help if society in general doesn’t become aware. Let's push the electric vehicle forward!
💙 And how Place to Plug contributes to the environment and sustainability?
By empowering you to use electric vehicles offering an end to end solution for the entire EV charging industry, whether if you are an EV driver, a developer, a business or an institution!