Ozone is a natural trace component of the atmosphere. It is created continuously through
the action of sunlight and oxygen in the upper atmosphere. At the same time this destroyed by
various reactions with other components in the air. The next result of these natural processes is the
so-called ozone layer in the stratosphere at altitudes between 15 and 50 kilometers in which the
concentration of the ozone is raised. Ozone is a colorless gas, a form of oxygen. However, an
ordinary molecule of oxygen contains two atoms. Because of ozone's composition, it is reactive. It
readily combines with whatever materials it comes in contact with, including such biological
substances as cells and tissues.
Far above the earth, ozone forms naturally as oxygen produced from living things moves
from the troposphere, the layer of air nearest to the earth surface, to the stratosphere. Air in the
stratosphere absorbs solar energy, or heat from the sun, which in turn creates a photochemical
reaction that produces ozone - a benefit to the environment since ozone protects people, plants, and
animals from harmful radiation (Health effects of....).
The ozone layer is important because it absorbs most of the damaging ultra-violet radiation
from the sun before it reaches ground level, where it can cause sun burn, skin cancer and cataracts.
Research suggests that any additional UV-B (ultra-violet radiation) at ground level could depress our
bodies' immune systems, damage the natural food chain and reduce crop yields. Although ozone
makes up less that 1ppm of all the gases in our planet's atmosphere, but it is essential to life on
earth. Scientists assume...
... middle of paper ...
...in halons - buy the type
filled with a more environmentally safe chemical. If you could join with millions of people across the
nation in conservation efforts designed to protect the environment from atmospheric pollutants,
fossil fuel consumption - and the release of hazardous chemical substances would certainly
decrease. Whatever each of us can do to protect our global commons, it seems crucial to begin
those efforts now, to use a much quoted phrase:" We are all in this together." All of us need to
work in our own particular ways to be caretaker of the earth.
"Health effects of Overexposure to the sun." 22 March
2000. (23 March 2000).
"Ozone Science: The facts behind the phaseout." 22
March 2000. (23 March 2000).
"Grave threat to Earth's protective ozone layer." (2 April 2000).
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