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O-zone Depletion - Research Paper Example

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OZONE LAYER DEPLETION Introduction The mass conservation principle of environmental science suggests that a mass always remains unchanged and cannot be devastated or newly created. Every matter must reach some destination and hence making the environment pollution free is not realistic in thought…
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O-zone Depletion
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O-zone Depletion

Download file to see previous pages... In this context the problem of ozone depletion can be explored. The ozone layer can be thought of as a giant sunshade that covers around 9 to 19 miles above Earth surface protecting the plants and animals of the earth from the harmful ultraviolet B rays (U.V B) radiated by the Sun. Stratosphere contains Ozone (O3) in the form of a layer surrounding it. The stratospheric span is around 30 miles above the surface of the earth. The harmful U.V rays are absorbed by the ozone layer that prevents it from entering the earth surface. However, if and when ozone is found on the earth surface, it can act as a very harmful pollutant. Moreover, ozone is responsible for the greenhouse effect. (Ozone Depletion Losing Earth’s Protective Layer, n.d.) This paper attempts at discussing the underlying causes and effects of Ozone depletion and tries to make a comparative study of the various environmental policies taken to combat the problems related to ozone layer depletion and its possible solutions.                  Causes and Effects of Ozone Depletion: In recent years, ozone layer depletion has been a subject of concern for the scientists. Ozone layer depletion was first discovered in the 1980s with Antarctica being the earliest of the victims. Ozone depletion in stratosphere is being considered the foremost problem regarding environmental degradation, which threatens the very existence of life on the planet. A large stratospheric hole had been discovered just above Antarctica which is increasing everyday letting the harmful U.V B rays to enter the earth surface which is resulting in elevating the risk of skin cancer, immunological and genetic damages and cataracts in the eyes. It is also causing skin burns in whales and massive damage to essential food crops such as wheat, rice etc., and increase in production of harmful vitamin D. Moreover, impact of anthropocentric activities in the troposphere and stratosphere has been on the rise, which also results in depletion of ozone layer. This has allowed Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) like halocarbon refrigerants (CFCs, halons, freons) emanated from man made cars and factories to reach the stratosphere and degrade it further. The halocarbons are chemically photo dissociated and enabled to release halogens, which through a series of chain reactions destabilizes ozone and converts it to oxygen (Melott & Thomas, 2011). In the past one and a half decade some measures have been undertaken in terms of international protocols and policies in order to combat this environmental threat. To understand and improve upon these measures an evaluation of these policies and protocols might help. International protocols and their evaluation   Kyoto Protocol:  The Kyoto Protocol treaty comprises of a set of rules by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiated at Kyoto, Japan in 19th of December 1997 agreed five years back at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and have been operational since 16th of February, 2005. It is a legally binding protocol according to which the industrialized nations would have to make a cut in their collective emissions of Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases by 5.2% and were expected to reduce emissions by 29% within 2010.The aim was to reduce overall emissions of six main harmful greenhouse gases including methane, CFC and nitrous oxide, calculated over a 5- year period average of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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