The Shocking Significance of Ozone Layer Depletion

In 1974 Mario Moline and Sherwood Rowland produced a report drawing attention to the human impact on the ozone layer. This part of the earth’s atmosphere is known as the earth’s shield which helps protect everyone, our plants and marine life. This shield absorption is paramount to the earth’s conservation. Without this vital protection, we would see cases of skin cancer and cataracts raise.  The reason for the rise in these cases is due to harmful rays known as VVB rays. In the 1970s, when Moline and Rowland’s report first got published, they concluded; the ozone layer will be damaged beyond repair if the use of CFC found in aerosols were not reduced.

The ozone layer is the most damaged in the South Pole particularly around August to November. It would be insensitive to say “I live nowhere near the South pole” and just ignore the matter if we all take this approach. Eventually the hole will be where we live and then our attitude would change but the question arises of, “Are we too late?”.

There is one simple explanation as to why the ozone layer is being damaged and ultimately it’s due to humankind. If we work together, we can reduce the number of physical illnesses that are caused by the ozone layer being damaged. It is not too late, we can and are repairing this essential layer, we just need to continue.

The Current State of the Ozone Layer 

A study in 2018 revealed that the Ozone layer was not healing as quickly as what was first anticipated. The study concluded, this was due to the concentration of CFCs in the atmosphere being higher than what they should have been. This caused a worldwide investigation as to what countries were using CFCs since the ban in 2010.

The investigation concluded that Eastern China was still using CFCs. After this illegal production was stopped, levels returned to what was estimated. By the end of 2020 it concluded that the hole in the layer had closed.

This graph shows that in 2020 the ozone hole in the Southern Hemisphere had reached zero. While this is an incredible achievement, it requires us not to be complacent. To protect our earth we still need to help the ozone layer to become stronger. So if we ever have a setback as we did in 2018 then the ozone layer may not be damaged as quickly as before. 

Healing the Ozone layer

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed in 1987 by members of the United Nations. The main object of the protocol is to reduce ten commonly used substances to 0. This research showed damage to the ozone layer and increased change to the climate in relation to the earth’s atmosphere . These ten are as follows:

  • Hydrofluorocarbons
  • Bromochloromethane
  • Methyl Bromide
  • Hydrobromofluorocarbons
  • Hydrochlorofluorocarbons
  • 1,1,1 – Trichloroethane, otherwise known as Methyl Chloroform
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Halogenated CFCS
  • Halons
  • CFCs 

Each of these ten substances damages the ozone layer in its own right. Hydrofluorocarbons, Hydrobromofluorocarbons, Hydrochlorofluorocarbons, 1,1,1 – Trichloroethane, otherwise known as Methyl Chloroform, Halogenated CFCS and CFCS all are used to produce refrigerators helping to keep the agents temperatures down. Bromochloromethane and Halons are used in fire extinguishers. Methyl Bromide is used in pest killers. Finally, Carbon Tetrachloride is used in cleaning fluids. All of these are utilised in products where there is a high demand and are used daily. This shows the main reason as to why they produce the most damage.

“The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is a global agreement to protect the Earth’s ozone layer by phasing out the chemicals that deplete it. The Protocol provided a set of practical, actionable tasks that were universally agreed on. Thus far, it has successfully met its objectives and continues to safeguard the ozone layer today. Thanks to the collaborative effort of nations around the world, it is well on its way to recovery. ”

Save the Ozone Layer. Save the Earth.

We can see objects we use in our daily life are contributing to the damage of the Ozone layer which in turn contributes to climate change. Humans as species have known about our negative impact since 1984, and up until now whilst we have tried to combat the issues, we are yet to all be on the same page. We are all failing to save the planet. We should all be helping t0 stop the production of the chemicals that harm the ozone layer and produce more sustainable options. 

Whether you are a government official, nurse, pilot or student, no matter what your background is, protect your future generations. When I am old and someone asks me what my generation did to protect the environment, I want to say we made the right choices in life and made the planet stronger. The time is now and we need to start. It is a matter of importance that we protect the ozone layer. This may be selfish but my life should not end short because of people in denial or refusing to change. It is never too late to change; start today. No matter how small, everything makes a difference.

Impacts of humans on the planet

Climate Change: Rethinking the Timeline

Climate Change: Rethinking the Timeline

An article I happened upon from 1949 by Pat Munroe detailed how “Humans May Have Created Worldwide Warm Weather,” which ...

Read more

At the centre of climate change is a crisis of inequality

At the centre of climate change is a crisis of inequality

The current climate crisis exists as both a product and driver of global wealth inequality, however, no government is making ...

Read more

The Climate Crisis: A Planet on the Brink

The Climate Crisis: A Planet on the Brink

The likes of climate change and global warming can often be a difficult topic to digest, especially given the sensitive ...

Read more

Get in touch

Please provide any further information