16 Sep World Ozone Day
What if I told you, 'You already have your natural sunscreen!’, Yes that's true! and that’s the Ozone Layer. Technically that's what the ozone does, it shields us from the harmful Ultra-Violet (UV) rays. However, it’s much more than your regular sunscreen, because without the ozone, life just becomes impossible, simply said, ‘like oxygen to man, ozone to earth’.
The science behind ozone is that it is a layer created in our atmosphere naturally by the combination of atomic and molecular oxygen. The irony is that it is activated by the presence of sunlight while it serves to block the UV-B rays of sunlight.
Spiking up of skin cancers, cataracts and now that we survived one, you are going to feel this next one, spread of infectious diseases are some of the major health issues risked by ozone depletion while plant pollination, diseases and reduction of photosynthetic activity and a whole lot of disarray in the food web; both terrestrial and aquatic are some of the impacts of ozone depletion.
Chemicals like Chloro-Flouro Carbon (CFC), Carbon Monoxide, Benzene, Lead and heavy metals are the ‘villains’ depleting the ozone, in other words reducing the density of ozone. For example, when CFC is emitted to the atmosphere, it travels way up to the ozone and on its way the CFC particles break and become free atoms attracting the oxygen of the ozone and taking away the oxygen atom from ozone and thereby leading to depletion.
On a positive note, the many regulations against CFC and other harmful agents are on the up rise and are actively playing a role such as the Montreal Protocol but let us narrow this down for you and me to shield our sunscreen:
Here are a few ways in which you and I can contribute towards conserving the Ozone layer!
- Walk home! -Yes, you read it right, a significant proportion of Carbon Monoxide is released from traffic.
- Try using a fuel-efficient smaller vehicle which emits low carbon or even public transport whenever possible.
- Re-use that plastic- Replace, reduce reuse and recycle never goes out of style.
- Next time you shop for detergents and cleaning agents flip back and check to ensure that it doesn't contain an array of toxic materials, but rather natural ingredients like vinegar.
- Shop Sri-Lankan! - Yes, this way you don't bring home products that's subject to pollution caused by air and sea travel.
- Go for Non-CFC and Non-HFC refrigerator and Air conditioning.
- Go zero trash or eliminate trash as much as possible because burning trash is a major pollutant.
Although the above steps cascaded down to an individual basis may seem minute towards the greater ozone conservation movement, they have a stronger and long term impact. So, Yes! Your baby step plays a bigger role. Here goes a resolute Ozone Day!
Rtr. Fathima Amnah Amjad
( Member – 2020/21 )