Have you ever walked down a beach and enjoyed the sunshine? After a hard semester spending your time studying in a library lighted by fluorescent lights, enjoying the sun can be a very satisfying reward. Of course, you have to make sure you brought your SPF 200 to block all those annoying UV rays right? Nobody wants a bad sunburn; the thought of flaking and bubbly skin can give you the goosebumps. Yeah, a sunburn sounds pretty bad right?
Our ozone layer protects us from most of the harmful rays our sun spews at us per second. Without it, humans would not be able to survive on Earth because the UV rays would be strong enough to burn us alive. The stratosphere ozone protects Earth from UV rays that would otherwise devastate humanity. But why don’t we care? Why do we continue to spray harmful chemicals that deplete our only protection? The answer is that preventing chemicals from being used in many industries will severely hurt businesses and the economy. In addition, not every chemical can have an equivalent substitute and researchers are not 100% certain on the effects of all chemicals on the ozone layer.
The ozone layer is normally damaged by chlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, other ozone-depleting substances normally found in refrigerants and insulating foams. Pesticides, one of the most essential resources for crops also damages the ozone as well as many other chemicals required in manufacturing plants. As these chemicals reach our ozone layer, the UV light from the sun breaks them down and the chlorine molecules react heavily with the ozone molecules, changing their chemical properties. You may be asking “well, what about the naturally occurring phenomenons that release harmful gases that can also damage the ozone layer such as volcanoes?” Although it is true that volcanic eruptions and even the natural chemical reactions in our oceans can seriously damage the ozone layer, most of these chemicals do not reach the stratosphere. They are extremely soluble and can dissolve into rainwater and clouds very easily.
Currently, most of the world has began to understand that this is a major problem. The EPA has already passed a series of acts that prohibit the use of many chemicals that can damage the ozone. However, there are still many other chemicals that cannot be replaced or may have an indirect impact with the ozone layer researchers are currently not completely sure of. Whatever the case, the massive amount of production and manufacturing in the world continues to create these chemicals that fly into our ozone layer. Although the ozone layer is able to recover from this, it is projected that at our current pace, it will take hundreds of years to do so.
We must bring awareness to this issue. By destroying our ozone layer, humanity will suffer extremely devastating health effects. The number of skin cancer patients could rise exponentially. Not only will we suffer, but most life on Earth will feel the effects. This could damage the fragile ecology of our planet.
Read more facts here: http://www.epa.gov/ozone/science/q_a.html