Saturday, December 20, 2008

What damages our ozone layer?

I love the environment. It is my mental and soulful refuge from the hassles of life. I detoxify my soul by inhaling fresh air. But the truth slaps me on the face for our forest loss reduces the earth's ability to produce the oxygen we breathe, and even increases the cases of blindness and cancer in countries underneath the most seriously effected parts of the ozone layer.

What is the ozone layer? It is the protective layer of our atmosphere which absorbs 93-99% of the sun's high frequency ultraviolet light. Meaning, the absence of the ozone layer would result to health problems and one of which is skin cancer.

One of the most potent toxic chemicals developed in the early 1930s is Chlorofluorocarbons CFCs which was discovered by Dr. James Lovelock in the late 1960s. Once freed into the air with other chlorine- and bromine-containing compounds, CFCs could accelerate the depletion of ozone in the Earth's stratosphere.

Let me illustrate vividly how CFCs react with the ultraviolet rays of the sun:

1. Once CFCs are released into the atmosphere, the ultraviolet rays of the sun hit the CFC molecules and break them apart;
2. The freed chlorine atom from the CFCs will destroy ozone molecules forming chlorine monoxide and oxygen; and
3. The ultra-violet rays of the sun break up the chlorine monoxide molecule into chlorine atoms. Studies showed that one chlorine atom can destroy as many as 100,000 ozone molecules.

The Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCS) are used as coolants for commercial and home refrigeration units, aerosol propellants, electronic cleaning solvents, and blowing agents.

Manufacturers using CFCs for their products have been widely reduced after a worldwide response was elicited by environmental groups all over the world.

However, illegal logging and dynamite fishing do still exist not only in the Philippines but elsewhere using poverty as an excuse to justify illegal quick-fix mentality to earn from the wealth of nature.

As the population increases, the poor man resorts to using the environment to answer his basic needs. But the greedy rich man profits from it. Once he sees he could earn more, he abuses the forest and oceans to become richer from the bounty of nature.

Environmental problems root from man's greed. However, the increasing rate of mortality arising from droughts and storms prove that nature will not grieve in silence.


Raymond Teodo a.k.a. was_bedeutet_jemanden said...

Reading this reminds me of the 20th Century Fox Film "Fern Gully". Have you had the chance to see it at all? It's a really good kids film, based on an Australian novel. It aims to educate kids on the importance of protecting the environment. There's a lot found in the movie that's relevant to kids and adults alike. I recommend you find yourself a copy of it, if you have not seen it already.....

Bai Maleiha B. Candao said...

Thanks for your comment, my friend. Yes, I love that animated movie which showed the battle between good and bad forces of nature. :)

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