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The Ozone Depletion Phenomenon

Updated on January 13, 2013


SOS: Save our Sky. Protect the Ozone Layer.

September 16 is World Ozone Day (International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer)

"In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly voted to designate September 16 as "World Ozone Day", to commemorate the signing of the Montreal Protocol on that date in 1987."

Montreal Protocol is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer.

It decreases or phased out the production of numerous chemicals and substances believed to be causing ozone depletion.


The depletion of the Ozone layer on our stratosphere is one of the most complex and serious environmental issue the planet is facing today. Over the past years, we saw evidence of human activities that affects the Ozone layer and this has been building up, continuing to grow every day.

Damaging the Ozone layer put the world at an increasingly greater risk. Everyone should be responsible in using products that contributes to the negative effect on our nature.


What is Ozone Layer?

Ozone Layer is the layer on the Earth's stratosphere (the highest region contains 90% of ozone) that is responsible in absorbing and protecting the Earth from the ultraviolet rays coming from the sun.

The Ozone is a bluish gas formed by three atoms of oxygen - the type of oxygen that we, humans breathe. It has three atoms instead of two (O2). In presence of halogens, the O3 gets converted to O2.

Ultraviolet rays are invisible rays emitted as energy by the sun and composed of three wavelengths: UVA, UVB and UVC.

The Ozone layer is very important to the life on Earth. It absorbs the ultraviolet light rays sent by the sun at high altitude, therefore preventing this harmful radiation from reaching the surface.

This ultraviolet radiation is very destructive to all living things; it can cause increased risk of cancers and cataracts to humans.


Causes of Ozone Depletion

The main cause of this depletion is the release or emission of CFCs or chlorofluorocarbons into the Earth's atmosphere.

A chlorofluorocarbon is a man-made organic compound that contains Carbon, Hydrogen, Chlorine, and Fluorine. This chemical is used as refrigerants, aerosol propellants, in manufacturing of plastic foams and also as cleaning solvents.

These harmful gasses do not simply break down and are not washed up by rains nor destroyed in reactions with other chemicals. They remained on the lower atmosphere from 20 to 120 years.

Since these gasses are relatively stable, they are eventually ended on the stratosphere and will be broken down by ultraviolet rays from the sun, thus releasing Chlorine, which then actively contributing to the damage of the Ozone layer.

CFC molecules end up in the stratosphere. The chlorine atom that was removed from the CFC can attract one of the three oxygen atoms in the ozone, therefore when this process continually repeat, one single chlorine atom can destroy over 100,000 molecules of ozone.

Effects of Ozone Depletion

The thinning of our ozone layer has great impacts on all living creatures in the planet. Every time, a small ozone layer is lost, more ultraviolet rays can reach the Earth's surface, harming the life cycles on the ecosystems.


Effects to human beings exposed on the harmful rays:

  • Skin cancers such as malignant melanoma
  • Malaria and other infectious disease
  • Cortical Cataracts (clouding of the lens), blindness and other eye diseases
  • Sunburns and premature aging of skin
  • Weakening of the immune system

Effects on the Environment:

  • It will disrupt the food chain and the life cycle of plants
  • Microscopic organisms may not be able to survive (such as planktons, which are important component of marine food chain, thus breaking the flow of marine food chain)
  • It contributes to the faster rate of global warming and climate change
  • It also affects other ecosystems such as forest, deserts, lakes and other bodies of water will also be harmed
  • Can lead to disruption of sensitive terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems especially on the marine animals on their growing stage


Life Cycle of CFCs

This is the life cycle of the CFCs; how they are transported up into the upper stratosphere/lower mesosphere, how sunlight breaks down the compounds and then how their breakdown products descend into the polar vortex.
This is the life cycle of the CFCs; how they are transported up into the upper stratosphere/lower mesosphere, how sunlight breaks down the compounds and then how their breakdown products descend into the polar vortex.

How to Minimize or Reduce the Thinning of the Ozone Layer

Since CFC and plastics were already around us and would not leave our hands very soon, individuals need to think of some ways how to minimize the thinning of the Ozone layer. The ozone layer really needs the help of the living creatures which it protects from the harmful ultraviolet rays.

Imagine the effect of this on the ozone layer as well as on the Earth's surface many years from now if the ozone will be completely destroyed. But we will not go to that time. We must really be conscious to avoid more serious problems in the environment. We are now experiencing the effects of this depletion and many people already died because of that.


We have to contribute a fair share to our Ozone layer to minimize its thinning and bear simple rules before buying or burning certain things that may speed up the thinning process.

I am aware that my everyday actions contribute to the decline and depletion of the Ozone layer and I am guilty of its effects to our environment.


I have listed here very basic and simple ways on how we can reduce, if not totally repair our Ozone layer:

  • Plant trees. Trees will produce more oxygen and absorb more carbon dioxide.
  • Discourage the human activities that lead to forest extinction.
  • Do not burn plastics and other non-biodegradable things. Recycle them in much possible ways.
  • Try to use products which are labelled "Ozone-friendly".
  • Start recycling programs in your area or in your home.
  • Air conditioner in vehicles and on your homes should be checked regularly to avoid leaks.
  • Minimize/reduce or much better, avoid the use of aerosols and sprays composed of CFCs.
  • Replacing your halon fire extinguishers with alternatives like foam.
  • Drive less, walk more.
  • Conserve energy. Turn off lights and appliances when not in use and buy energy-saving lights and other gadgets.
  • Always remember the 3R: Reuse-Reduce-Recycle.


The Industrial Revolution has done a great change on the life of the people. But however, we did not recognize the problem until it is too late.

All we can do now is try to minimize and reduce the harmful gasses that enter the atmosphere and stratosphere of the Earth.

Every individual can really help change and save environment. It is just a matter of doing it all the time even if others do not.

All of us can help protecting our Ozone layer even with those simple steps listed above. Before we point fingers to others to implement policies or rules, let us first begin to do something for the sake of saving our environment.

As Mahatma Ghandi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."


Let's Paint the World Green!



© 2012 Mycee. All Rights Reserved.

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    • unknown spy profile image
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      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Thank you so much Aubrey!

    • CrazedNovelist profile image

      A.E. Williams 4 years ago from Hampton, GA

      Awesome! :) I loved this. We should all think of things like this. The environment is so important!!

    • unknown spy profile image
      Author

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      hi Mary. Thank you for the visit, Yes, indeed, we have to take care of our ozone layer to prevent further damage.

    • profile image

      Mary 5 years ago

      We really should take care of our ozone. we are the ones who will suffr the consequences too

    • unknown spy profile image
      Author

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Letitia, wow what a wonderful comment! thank you very much!

    • Letitialicious profile image

      Letitialicious 5 years ago from Paris via San Diego

      Wow! What a job you've done on this win! A great lesson on the subject. Thank you.

    • unknown spy profile image
      Author

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Vespawoolf, thank you for dropping by and reading and shared to. Hope we can atleast remind people that ozone is thinning and we need to do something about this.

    • unknown spy profile image
      Author

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Dianna, thank you for stopping by. As much as possible, would love to give details and info in one hub though so that readers would understand better..thank you so much for all the votes and shared

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Another beautiful "green" hub. Thank you! I enjoyed your explanation of what causes ozone depletion. I remember when this first began to be recognized, many critics scoffed. Now I don't hear many people denying this to be true. I agree that we need to protect the environment instead of being a contributing factor to its demise. Voted up and shared!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      You have made a great contribution to saving our planet! Wow, I am impressed with your information and descriptive detailed visuals. I have learned lots from reading your hub. Thanks. Voted up and shared.

    • unknown spy profile image
      Author

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      to doodlebugs, vinaya, sha, genna, nancy, melbelle, nell, audrey, nanderson, deb, tom, prasetio, richard:

      guys, thank you so much for all the votes and shared. I am so happy to see and read your comments supporting me on protecting our ozone layer. thank you guys.

      @genna, that's really true, " "They won’t do anything it until it's too late."

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Myz -

      Extremely well presented information on a topic that's been around for years, and continually gets pushed to the back of the priority lists. Man will never learn. Then, man will be no more. Sad, but don't expect anything else as long as money rules the world. Great Hub!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very inspiring hub. Very well written and good presentation. I learn many things from you. Thanks for share with us. Voted up!

      Prasetio

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi M. WOW great hub with very interesting information within this well written and illustrated hub.

      Vote up and more !!! SHARING !

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Great job, Mycee. Awesome and up, and yes, let's do our part, which really is so simple.

    • nanderson500 profile image

      nanderson500 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Great hubs, lots of interesting information about the ozone layer. Voted up and interesting.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Such a great hub! Sharing this!!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, this was just what I needed to read, I was discussing this the other day, and for the life of me I had forgotten which chemicals caused it, and where it was etc, wonderful reminder, thank you! voted up and hub shared! nell

    • melbelle profile image

      melbelle 5 years ago from Southern United States

      very good information here and images to help clarify.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      Another comprehensive article about the environment. I think that we all need these reminders. We all share this planet. Voted up and shared.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you for this great hub! My dad was an environmental scientist and marine biologist. He talked about is and other threats to the environment for many years. He said, "They won’t do anything it until it's too late." With each passing year, I remember those words, and it saddens me to see that he may well have been right.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Good information, Spy. I'm so pleased to see you being passionate about saving Mother Earth. I try to avoid aerosols and have energy saving bulbs thoughout my house - even the stove light.

      Nice job, my friend!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      I know something about ozone depletion but I was not aware that Sept. 16 is World ozone day. Thanks for sharing this comprehensive article.

    • doodlebugs profile image

      doodlebugs 5 years ago from Southwest

      I know the sun feels different now than when I was a child. I'm pretty sure that's because of the damage to the ozone layer. Well written Hub, voted up.

    • unknown spy profile image
      Author

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Ped, thank you so much for reading. Some people really dont think of the consequences as long as they're comfortable. some would say..if others are not doing it, why am I going to do it? so it multiplies. thanks a lot for the comment :)

    • unknown spy profile image
      Author

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Hello Mary! thank you for stopping by. Yes, hair sprays contains chemicals that cannot be washed away. The burning of plastics, imagine people around the world cleaning with CFC and factories.

    • unknown spy profile image
      Author

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      I think so too Tammy! I think we need to really minimize the bad habits that can cause holes in the sky.

    • unknown spy profile image
      Author

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Meldz, thank you for the visit and for appreciating this hub.

    • pedrn44 profile image

      Sandi 5 years ago from Greenfield, Wisconsin

      lots of great information! The illustrations really helped me understand the ozone layer and exactly how we are destroying it. I do practice the 3Rs and it amazes (and disappoints) me how many people are resistant to helping improve our environment. Voted up.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      This has been a concern of mine for a long time. I think of all the sprays we use everyday. I have stopped using room deodorizers that spray. Even hair spray contributes to this problem I think.

      I voted this Hub UP, etc. and will share.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I think every day should be ozone protection day. This is well researched and well presented. This is such an important subject!

    • profile image

      ignugent17 5 years ago

      Thanks for this great information. Using illustrations makes it more clearer to understand. We really need to start doing something to help our environment.

      Plant trees ! :-)

    • unknown spy profile image
      Author

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      TT..snowdrops.. thank you for commenting and visiting my latest hub.

    • snowdrops profile image

      snowdrops 5 years ago from The Second Star to the Right

      GREAT hub!! the thinnign of the ozone layer is one of the most critical problem of today.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Wow, Spy, GREAT job, very well researched and really well presented. Voted up and sharing.

    • unknown spy profile image
      Author

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Thank you too for reading!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Well written and researched. Thank you.

    • unknown spy profile image
      Author

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      hello rajan. thank you for commenting. simple and basic step can do a lot of help to our environment.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      A great reminder, spy. We need to do all we can to protect our environment and following the 3 R's will greatly help.

      Thanks for sharing.

      voted up & useful.