Environmental Chemistry

What is Ozone Layer Depletion?


Ozone layer depletion means the thinning of the ozone layer present in the upper atmosphere. That is harmful to nature and the atmosphere. Ozone layer depletion is one of the major problems for the atmosphere and also for all the living beings including the flora and fauna of this earth.

ozone layer depletion

What is the Ozone Layer?

The ozone layer is the layer present in the Stratosphere. It absorbs the harmful ultraviolet rays that come from the sun. Moreover, it causes harmful radiation that has a high concentration of ozone (O3) which is harmful to living beings on the earth.

The ozone layer is basically present in the lower stratosphere that is near about 20 to 35 kilometers above the earth. Moreover, the thickness of the ozone layer may differ depending upon the seasonal and geographical changes.

The ozone layer is important for the earth because it protects the earth from the harmful ultraviolet radiation. This radiation comes from the sun and is harmful to the earth’s surface

The flora and the fauna would not be able to survive if the earth will be directly affected by the harmful ultraviolet rays. Moreover, humans and animals on earth will face a lot of problems because of excess heating.

Causes of Ozone Layer Depletion

According to the studies done by the scientists the cause of the ozone layer depletion is human activity. All the activities are done by human beings. Through which the chemicals are made that contain chlorine or bromine. These are basically called ODS that stands for Ozone-Depleting Substance.

The ozone layer depletion was observed by the researchers in the early 1970s. Furthermore, the ozone-depleting substances are said to be Eco-friendly and they are very popular for the last some decades and are still in use.

These ozone depletion substances float and then reach the stratosphere. Therefore, the formation of chlorine and bromine takes place and these chemicals cause the depletion of the ozone layer at a very high speed.

They are capable of breaking down the molecules of the ozone layer. One chlorine molecule has a capacity to breakdown thousands of molecules present in the ozone layer, therefore, it results in the depletion of the ozone layer.

Download Ozone Layer Depletion Cheat Sheet PDF

Natural Causes of Depletion of the Ozone Layer

It is found that the ozone layer gets affected by some natural causes that are sun-spots and stratospheric winds. However, these cause a very nominal contribution to the ozone layer depletion which is near about 1 to 2 percent and therefore these effects are temporary. Some major volcanic eruptions have also contributed to the depletion of the ozone layer. Two of them are (Chichon in 1983) and another one is (Mt. Pinatubo in 1991).

Man-made Causes of Depletion of the Ozone Layer

Human activities are the main cause of the depletion of the ozone layer. It occurs due to the excessive use of the man-made chemicals that are bromine and chlorine which release  from the man-made compounds such as:

  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
  • CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons)
  • Halon
  • CH3CCl3 (Methyl chloroform)
  • CCl4 (Carbon tetrachloride)
  • H CFCs (hydro-chlorofluorocarbons)
  • Chlorofluorocarbons
  • Methyl bromide

Solutions to Ozone Layer Depletion

Less use of Fuel: by reducing the usage of the fuels and petroleum used in vehicles nowadays we can help in reducing the ozone layer depletion

Less use of pesticides: pesticides helps in growing your farms and plants but cause harm to the ozone layer and contribute to ozone layer depletion.

Limited use of harmful chemicals for cleaning: the chemicals used for making cleaning products results in depletion of the ozone layer.

Questions on Ozone Layer Depletion

Ques. Ozone Layer consists of:

(A). O3
(B). H2O
(C). Na Cl
(D). H2sO4
Ans. The answer is option A.

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