POLLUTION AND OZONE LAYER
Ozone is a condensed form of Oxygen. It has three atoms of Oxy-gen instead of two and has a faint blue colour with pungent odour. In industries it is used in deodorization, oxidation and bleaching and is generated by a silent electric discharge in ordinary Oxygen. Thus it is useful in this way. It is very useful in saving life from sun radiation. It actually forms an umbrella over the earth. It is concentrated generally 30 km above the surface of earth. It is generated there by the interaction of high energy radiation of the sun on the oxygen in the atmosphere. Its concetration is only 10 parts per million parts of air. Still it stops sun radiation to penetrate the earth.
If there is a pollution of ozone i.e. if the ozone layer is disturbed the sun radiation would attack human life, animal and plant life. The ultra violet rays would eat all life on earth. A one per cent reduction of ozone layer would mean 4 to 8 per cent increase of skin cancer among people having light coloured skin.
With an increase of 22 per cent cancer among men and 17 per cent women in Australia the Northern America was rather awake. Research in 1985 showed that there was a big hole in Ozone layer in Antarctica -as big as the United States and as deep as Mount Everest. 4.9 to 10.6 per cent loss was found over Australia. This resulted in one lakh forty thousand cases of skin cancer every year in a population of one crore seventy lakh – the highest in the world.
Research in 1985 showed the chlorofluoro carbons (CFC) used in air conditioning and refrigerators finally moves out and stops its journey only after crossing the ozone shield. With an interaction with ultra violet rays of the sun Chlorine is separated. It eats ozone. Thus CFC has proved a great pollutant. If its use is continued the hole over Antarctica, Australia and Europe would increase so much that people may not survive in due course. By 1991 the depletion over Arctic region was 20 per cent more than the last one.
It is rather good that people in developed countries which have the highest number of cooling plants (even in cars) were awake to the situation. A protocol was signed by many countries at Montreal in Canada to phase out the withdrawal of CFCs by the year 2000. US President Bush ordered a ban by 1995 in February 1992. European community put a ban on Halon (used in fire fighting) too by 1995 and reduces the use by 85 per cent by the end of 1993. Australia, the highest consumer reduced its use to 50%. Under Ozone Protection Act 1991 an individual consumer is to be fined $ 15,000 while a company may have to cough $60,000 if caught manufacturing or storing or exporting ozone eating chemicals. A team of 300 Scientists from 17 countries concluded after research that by 1992 the ozone layer got thinner by 15%.
Europe and USA use 88% ozone eating chemicals in the world. They are so used to the luxury of die cooling systems that an alternative was necessary. Bio-Act EC-7 and HFC-134A are the substitutes of CFC-113 and CFC-12. But according to environmental experts these too pose danger to ozone layers. To save the world from the pollution of ultra violet rays ozone must be preserved and some other substitute must be found.