Man and the Ozone

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Man and the Ozone

Ozone is perhaps one of the singularly most important molecules there is. No, not because man came from ozone, but because it forms a protective layer above the earth in it's stratosphere which allowed for the growth of life upon land. Before we had an ozone layer, the rays of the sun struck the earth unimpeded, barraging it with the deadly ultraviolet radiation which prohibited any chance of life on earth. However, there was life in the oceans, plant life in particular. This plant life may seem unimportant, especially since it is algae that is being given the spotlight. The algae in the ocean produces oxygen gas (O2), which would rise through the water and up into the "air", there it would be struck by the ultraviolet radiation, which changed the O2 into O3, which is ozone. This ozone gas has the unique ability to block out the vast majority of sunlight's harmful ultraviolet radiation. This afforded for the growth of life on the earth's surface. Despite the ozone layer, which helps block UV light and its radiation, some still gets through and can affect us. First it causes a nice looking tan, or a painful sunburn, however, deeper than that, it is wreaking havoc upon the skin cells, though this damage is cumulative, and is not visible for along time, it does great harm. In fact, ultraviolet radiation is the number one cause of skin cancer, and its occurrence is still rising.

This rise in cases of skin cancer could be linked to a dramatic change in the atmosphere - the loss of ozone. Over the past decades, scientists have begun to study the atmosphere and the ozone layer. They have noticed a marked reduction in the amount of ozone that is protecting the earth from the sun's harmful UV rays. Before, the am...

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...required transit use). As a reward however, there could be a minor tax refund, or free mass transit pass (for fares) given to those which use the transit system more than the amount of times required by the city ordinance.

In conclusion, ozone is a very necessary and beneficial component of our atmosphere, which servers to block the harmful UV radiation generated by the sun. This shield, however, is being destroyed at an accelerated rate by pollutants released as a result of man. Mankind needs to limit the amount of pollutants, CFC's in particular, which it produces in order to protect that which has been protecting us for all of our history.


Environmental Effect of Ozone Depletion:1998 Assessment by United Nations Environmental Programs

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