For years, we have heard about the ozone crisis: that because of industrialization and the lack of pollution-consciousness by our industries, governments, and academia, we have put so many environmentally harmful products into the atmosphere that our ozone – the good kind, the kind that protects us from harmful UV radiation – is becoming dangerously damaged. It is becoming thinner and developing holes, like the large hole over Antarctica. Predictions made expected the ozone hole to continue to increase and for the general thickness to get continuously thinner, so that the harmful UV rays of the sun would pass right through our atmosphere and fry our skin if we went outside for ten minutes fifty years from now. (I was actually told this in elementary school, except that we were told that this was an inevitable scenario, and there was really nothing that we could do about it other than buy SPF 250 sun-block. As a tech fix, this would probably be entirely possible!) However, recent evidence has shown that the rate of expansion of the ozone hole is actually decreasing; that the ozone is not being destroyed as quickly as experts thought it would. In fact, the ozone held its own and showed very little damage for a few years at the end of the 1990s. Why? Perhaps it is because emissions that damage the ozone are being reduced internationally, therefore resulting in an overall reduction of damage done annually to the ozone, allowing it to begin to repair itself.
Before it was known that they would cause great damage to the ozone, many factories not only released uncontrolled amounts of polluting emissions, but they also developed products that were very damaging t...
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...t, there is the realistic path of dangerously continuing to destruct our atmosphere. Basically, cleaning up technology and industry in order to reduce emissions and other problems is an uphill battle, but a very feasible one if enough people recognize it as worthy. If industry continues to reduce emissions, and is given incentives to institute greener technologies rather than just cleaning up old ones, I think that we will well be on our way to ceasing ozone damage and perhaps also to help eradicate other environmental problems.
Fahey, D.W. and A.R. Ravishankara. Summer in the Stratosphere. Science, v.285, n.5425, p.208-210, July 1999.
Kerr, Richard. A Brighter Outlook for Good Ozone. Science, v.297, p.1623-1625, September 2002.
Poliakoff, Martyn et al. Green Chemistry: Science and Politics of Change. Science, v.297, p.807-810, August 2002.
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