Ozone Layer Poisoning

.. diation could get so high that it may start burning trees and eventually forrests, in the process destroying our sources of oxygen that we need to survive. The increase in radiation will start to diminish crops and other food sources. Starting with the depletion of the ozone layer, the domino effect of the extinction of biological systems on Earth would continue to plants and then on to the marine ecosystem. The effects of poisoning of the ozone layer will lash out on the marine ecosystem. The marine ecosystem would severely suffer from the thinning ozone and the increase exposure to ultrviolet radiation. Starting with phytoplankton, the foundation of acquatic food chains, would loose their mobility, reproduction ability, a decrease in photosythetic activity and orientation in these small organisms. Scientific proof has demonstrated a direct reduction in phytoplankton production due to ozone depletion-related increases in ultraviolet radiation.

Damage to the early developmental stages of shrimp, fish, crabs, amphibians and other animals has also been linked to ultraviolet radiation exposure. Greenpeace said, ” a sustained 16% ozone depletion could lead to a loss of up to 7 million tons of fish per year.” Furthermore, the population of all other animals would be in danger because of the diminishing supply of smaller acquatic creatures. Animals, the most innocent victims of the ozone depletion will have to pay for their lives first. With exposure to ultraviolet radiation animals will eventually develop tumors similar disease to humans, such as: eye tumors, to burning skin,changes in pigmentation, skin cancers, and eventual suppression of the immune system. Domestic animals may experience loss of hair, cancers, light skin and eye diseases.

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Skin and eyes tumors exclusively in cows, goats, sheeps, horses, dogs, and cats. Through the direct effect of exposure to ultraviolet radiation and the indirect effects on the limited food species further down the chain, most animals if not all would be doomed. The retention our ozone is so important that every life form on Earth depends upon the protection of the ozone layer, against the suns harmful emmision of radiation. During the late 1970s, scientist discovered a”hole” in the ozone over the skies of Antartica. The “holes” in the ozone in Antartica has increased since and only appears in the seasonal springtime. According to Greenpeace, “Measurements of ultraviolet rays in Antarctica in 1993 were 50% higher than in 1991 and 1992” (Greenpeace).

Recent surveys of the ozone layer in Antarctica, have been reported in the annual spring-time up to a 90% decrease in ozone. In Antarctica a decrease in stratospheric temperature is a coincidence, with the general increase in the lower atmospheric temperatures. Some speculate this is because of the reduced ozone above Antarctica and the carbon dioxide warming in the troposphere. Antarctica is not the only place in the world with holes in the ozone, Canada and the Artic also have their own ozone depletion worries. The Arctic and parts of Canadas ozone levels have increasingly dropped. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one-third of the Northern Hemisphere is depleted; ozone levels over the Arctic are at an all-time low of up to 45% depletion from Greenland to Scandnavia to Western Siberia.

Over the last 30 years, temperatures have been studied and determind that a 0.5 Celsius degree increase had taken place per decade. The Arctic as a result. has experienced melting ice packs, a weaker cooling trend, and a decline in actual ice area. Parts of Canada has also experienced a drop in ozone levels by 15%. Scientists feel through the years 1998-2000 to be the most vulnerable period when accumalated atmospheric chlorine and bromine levels from human made elements will be at its peak. One of the first major steps in trying to stop the ozone depletion took place in September of 1987, negotiators from around the world met in Montreal to sign a treaty that limits the use of CFCs and halons.

Soon after the minds of science gathered in Montreal, the Montreal Protocol was signed so that in developed countries the production and consumption of CFCs would be diminished by the year 2000. The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 was amended to control ozone depleting chemicals in the United States. This Clean Air Act created an excise tax on all CFC products, that would increase year to year and gradually phase out the production of CFCs. The use of CFCs are currently banned in the United States. “In December of 1995 over 100 nations agreed to phase developed countries production of the pesticide methyl bromide, predicted to cause about 15% of ozone depletion by the year 2000.

The production of CFCs in developing countries will have ceased by the year 2010″ (Greenpeace). Just a couple years ago on December 16, 1997 the Antarctica Protocol was finally ratified after six years of lobbying. The Antartica Protocol bans mining for a minimum of 50 years and designates the whole continent and its marine ecosystem as a “natural reserve devoted to peace and science” (Greenpeace). There are many ways individuals can slow the rate of ozone depletion, through careful product purchasing of appliances that do use ozone depleting substances. Immediately repair any leaks in your refrigerator and make sure all CFCs are recoverd and properly recycled before any refrigerator is scrapped. Avoid buying all products that contain Ozone depleting substances such as: carbon tetrachlorides in dry-cleaning agents, halons found in fire extinguishers, methyl chlorofoam 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.

Be sure maintainance your cars air conditioning systems so that no freon leaks. In conclusion, the protection and conservation of our ozone is vital for the continuation of all biological systems and life forms on earth. Even with all the laws and CFC bans, we must all contribute a little something to nurse our fragile ozone layer back to health. If we decide to let things go on the way they are, extinction will start with the marine ecosystems, then the plants will start to die out, the animals will starve or die of diseases and eventually we will fall right in line as the final domino falls. Bibliography Firor, John. The Changing Atmosphere A Global Challenge.

New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990. 26-43. Stoker, Stephen. “Ozone.” Vol. 14. 14ed.

Chicago: Fetzer, 1996. 894. Environmental Protection Agency. “Ozone Depletion.” [Internet Online]. December 24, 1997. http://www.epa.gov/ozone/science/effects.html . Greenpeace. “Ozone Depletion.” [Internet Online]. date accessed: July 24, 1999. http://www.greenpeace.org .

Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 98. “Ozone.” [Computer program]. 1998ed. Microsoft Corporation.


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