Friday, September 14, 2012

World Ozone Day - September 16th

World Ozone Day  16th September
           World Ozone Day  is celebrated every year on 16th September since 1995. This Day marks the importance of Ozone layer and its role in the environment. The United nations General Assembly has designated this Day to reflect the adoption of Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone layer.

What is Ozone ?

              Ozone is a gas that is naturally present in our atmosphere. It is made up of three oxygen atoms (O3). The word ozone is derived from the Greek word รณ?e?? (ozein), meaning “to smell.” It occurs naturally in small (trace) amounts in the upper atmosphere (the stratosphere). Ozone protects life on Earth from the Sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. In the lower atmosphere (the troposphere) near the Earth’s surface, ozone is created by chemical reactions between air pollutants from vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and other emissions. At ground level, high concentrations of ozone are toxic to people and plants. 

What is The ozone Hole ?

             The ozone hole is not technically a “hole” where no ozone is present, but is actually a region of exceptionally depleted ozone in the stratosphere over the Antarctic that happens at the beginning of Southern Hemisphere spring (August–October). Satellite instruments provide us with daily images of ozone over the Antarctic region. The ozone hole image below shows the very low values (blue and purple colored area) centered over Antarctica on October 4, 2004. An atmospheric circulation pattern known as the "circumpolar vortex" builds over Antarctica in the winter, due to the very cold air mass that forms there. This vortex prevents stratospheric air from lower latitudes, which contains much more ozone, from penetrating into the atmosphere over Antarctica. At the same time, the long winter night deprives the air in the vortex of sunlight, which is necessary to produce stratospheric ozone. 

The result is that very low levels of ozone occur during September and October. While this natural phenomenon was originally called the "Southern Anomaly", the term "ozone hole" has become more popular since it was discovered that some man-made gases called "chloroflurocarbons" can interact with and destroy ozone. This process is believed by many scientists to have caused the ozone levels over Antarctica, which were already low at this time of year, to virtually disappear in some years. 

What is Ozone layer Depletion ?

           The ozone layer protects the Earth from the ultraviolet rays sent down by the sun.  If the ozone layer is depleted by human action, the effects on the planet could be catastrophic.As the ozone layer is getting thinner and thinner more and more harmful UV rays are passing into our atmosphere. These rays cause cancer, cataracts, and lowered immunity to diseases. In recent years, scientists have sounded alarms internationally about the depletion of the ozone layer, citing chemical pollution as the major cause. 

What Can We Do?

There are many ways individuals can slow the rate of ozone depletion. Some of them are...
* Immediately repair any leaks in your refrigerator and make sure all CFCs are recovered and properly recycled before any refrigerator is scrapped.
*  Avoid buying all products that contain Ozone depleting substances such as: carbon tetrachloride in dry-cleaning agents, halons found in fire extinguishers, methyl chloroform in degreasers and propellants, and anything insulated in Styrofoam. 
*  Consider alternatives to air conditioning systems in your houses, such as: insulating your homes, install fan cooling systems, apply coats of reflective seal on your roof to keep heat out, and vents hot attic spaces to get hot air out of your homes. 
*  Ensure maintenance of your cars air conditioning systems so that no Freon leaks.

Conclusion :

          The protection and conservation of our ozone is vital for the continuation of all biological systems and life forms on earth. If we decide to let things go on the way they are, extinction will start with the marine ecosystems, and then the plants will start to die out, the animals will starve or die of diseases and eventually the universe will come to an end. 

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