Ozone layer is a thin layer that is located within the stratosphere and contains high concentration of ozone. It protects our planet from the destructive effect of ultraviolet radiation. It is obvious that ozone is a very important component of the atmosphere and it requires special attention. Studies and research of the ozone depletion have been carried out for decades now.
Nowadays, the attention of ecologists is focused primarily on the causes of ozone depletion in the stratosphere. It became clear that the ozone layer was being depleted, when the first ozone hole was found over Antarctica in 1985. Each year since then, the hole increased in size, and it is now similar to the size of North America. Not so striking, but still very significant depletion of ozone levels is recorded round the globe.
The release of chlorofluorocarbons, also known as CFCs, is considered to be the main cause of ozone depletion. The emission of chlorofluorocarbons along with some other chlоrine- and bromіne-containing compounds has accelerated the depletion of ozone in the Earth’s stratosphere. These substances were developed at the beginning of 1930s and were used since then in various household, industrial and commercial applications. They are non-flammable, non-toxic and non-reactive with other substances which account for their popularity and frequent use.
Ozone depletion can be compared to the infection that our planet is suffering from. And the damages it causes are just horrid: ultraviolet radiation, which have no obstacle in the form of the ozone layer, easily reaches Earth and is harmful not only to humans, but also to animals and plants, as it can interfere with photosynthesis in plants and cause skin cancer, eye damage and other illnesses for humans and animals. If this ultraviolet radiation increases, it will cause irreparable damage and have fatal consequences for human beings and the biosphere as a whole.
The problem of ozone layer is governed today by Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer. They provide flexible measures to reduce emissions of ozone-depleting substances, among which are economic measures, technology exchange and financial funding. However, scientists have estimated that even if steps are taken to stop any activity that destroys the ozone layer, then in will take 100 years to restore it.