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Adefolake Adekola: Let’s Talk About the Ozone Layer



There are days the heat is unbearable and you feel as if the sun is directly above you, even though it’s over 100 million miles away. Well, here’s the reason: the depletion of the ozone layer.

Before defining the ozone layer, let’s define what ozone is. As defined by the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), Ozone is a natural gas that is a highly reactive molecule and contains three oxygen atoms, while the ozone layer is ozone within the stratosphere, where over 90% of the earth’s ozone resides.

There was a time when the sun was not as scorching and the Ultra Violet (UV) rays did not pierce our skins so closely. That was before the depletion of the ozone layer. So what is the depletion of the ozone layer? In layman terms, it is the deterioration of the ozone layer as a result of several factors, but most importantly pollution. The leading cause of pollution is the CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons).

Yes! CFCs have been banned/phased out, but before this, they had already made their negative impact on the environment. CFCs commonly used for the production of air conditioners, insulating foams, soaps, aerosols, hair sprays, disposable plates, etc., are the major component for the production of several items. It was later discovered its usage caused a massive depletion in the ozone layer and other health effects, which lead to the ban across countries. When the CFCs were used, they were released into the environment, which was carried into the stratosphere. Then sunlight breaks the CFCs up releasing Chlorine (Cl) which then reacts with Ozone (O3) and deteriorates the layer, causing depletion.

Some other substances used in the production of various materials also have a lasting damage to the ozone layer depletion such as:

Methyl Bromide – Pesticides

Halon – fire extinguishers

Methyl Chloroform – Industrial solvents

Although high concentrations of UV light is dangerous and bad for the human skin, some of it is necessary as it produces Vitamin D which is an important vitamin.

Effects of Ozone Layer Depletion

1. Human Health:

  • Melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer.
  • Damage to the eyes and causes cataracts.
  • Affects the immune system.
  • Changes the genetic character.
  • Premature ageing.

2. The Environment:

  • Affects the developmental processes of plants.
  • Excessive UV levels affect phytoplanktons (phytoplanktons form the foundation of aquatic food web).
  • UV also affects the development stages of shrimps, fish, crab and other animals.
  • Damages crops
  • Disrupt marine ecosystems.
  • Increases greenhouse warming by affecting the CO2 absorption capacity of plankton in the ocean.
  • Melting of the polar ice, which leads to rising sea level.
  • Climate change.

What can’t we do?

We cannot change what has been done. We cannot reverse the depletion that has occurred already, and we cannot induce the restoration of the ozone layer depletion.

According to United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), one atom of Chlorine can destroy more than a hundred thousand ozone molecules. This is to further explain how the Cl from CFC’s usage really caused ozone depletion from years back. The lasting damage has been done and studies show it will take over 50 years for the ozone layer to restore itself and recover.

Now it is time for us to move forward! What can we do?

A. Reuse – Reduce – Recycle: Reuse materials to reduce the usage of new ones and recycle old ones.

B. Green energy.

C. Afforestation: Planting of trees.

D. Reduce pollution.

E. Avoid buying materials made from CFC.

Wear UV protection sun glasses and use sun cream when you stay under the sun to minimize the UV effect on your skin and eyes.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Adefolake Ayotunde-Salami is an Environmental and Social Development Specialist. She is currently the Social Safeguard Consultant on a World Bank Assisted Project (SFTAS) across all 36 states and the FCT. Her experience spans across different sectors as she has worked both in the Public and Private sector. She has a Masters’ degree in Environmental Assessment and Management and hold numerous certifications. She is also an Independent Consultant for top companies in Nigeria and has work experience in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. She is the author of a book titled “Functioning in the knowledge of who you are” and a website where she and a few others talk about everything and anything She loves to watch series when she is less busy and write articles based on extensive research.

1 Comment

  1. by_stander

    October 25, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Oga Madam!

    Are you sure they have banned CFCs? because you still have VOCs everywhere especially in your country.

    you are using bleach, swimming pool etc everyday in your country right next to your generator, automobiles, perfumes, makeup etc.

    You even have open sewage where people pour all kinds of disasters into.

    all these react with chlorine to form VOC usually under room temperature as well.. Guess what? some of these VOCs will absorb through your skin.

    Chlorine is the reason you have increase in cancer especially for women that use cleaning products in their homes that contain chlorine compounds (Organochloride/Organochlorines.)

    basically anything that contains chlorine that is not a salt will release chlorine and or create a cancer causing toxin – that includes the stupid chlorine based chemicals you use for fumigation.

    When you combine all that with a bad diet (no mate that oily or sugary food isn’t healthy – they can contribute to damaging your DNA), the situation becomes very hopeless very quickly, And i haven’t even started discussing what happens in the pancreas.

    But consider that solar and cosmic radiations are already damaging your DNA every second and some types of DNA damages are not reversible especially involving free radicals.

    I am very disappointed in our medical science people and chemical engineering people for not making this very clear to the public and i will address them as soon as am done addressing our Lawyers and Accountants – because at least that one is self inflicted to a certain degree – must people will not stop using these harmful chemicals even if you tell them what it does to their body and the planet.

    When its done destroying your local environment and creating toxins, it goes into the atmosphere to destroy the ozone layer.

    like a virus it can go on and on.

    The above is just one element in the periodic table oh – do you know how many elements are in the periodic table?

    Meanwhile your lawyers and accountants will not let those people that have brains to do research and protect our environment, They only seem to care about enslaving our entire population for personal gain. Later you will hear a lawyer or accountant call themselves minister of a science field.

    These two professions (lawyers and accountants) have created a system that frustrates everybody by infringing on the alienable rights of human beings. That’s why all our experts are leaving or have left. We are left with people like Oga Madam that only seems to know how to copy and paste.

    Abi can you write and explain the chemical reaction for Chlorine and Ozone?

    If i could ask Mr Peter Obi a question right now – i will ask if he thinks based on the above, we should consider fresh healthy food and water as basic human right in this country.

    Meaning citizens of our country should be able to have access fresh healthy food and clean water.

    Oga madam nothing personal oh, but time you stand firmly for the inalienable rights of human beings!

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