Essay on Ozone Depletion

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Ozone Depletion

Atmospheric ozone layer depletion is a serious problem currently facing the world. The ozone layer protects humans, animals, and plants from harmful ultraviolet rays. Money and time are being spent on ozone repair, but the problem still exists.

The ozone layer is a region of the stratosphere containing ozone, or O3 gas. The ozone layer is essential to both plant and animal life on earth because it protects the surface from dangerous ultraviolet light.

However, industrial and domestic chemicals that are currently in use have been found to destroy ozone, and the problem has escalated to an ozone layer "hole" above Antarctica. Ozone levels there are 40 percent below normal, and there may be another ozone hole
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The compounds most responsible for ozone layer destruction are CFC-11 (trichlorofluoromethane), CFCl3; CFC-12 (dichlorodifluoromethane), CF2Cl2; and CFC-113 (1,1,2 trichlorotrifluoroethane), CF2ClCFCl2. All of these compounds are excellent refrigerants, and CFC-12 is marketed by DuPont as Freon™.3

The word "CFC" has become a generic term referring to any substance that is deleterious to the ozone layer. However, many destructive compounds are not CFC’s by definition. All ozone-destroying compounds contain at least one of two common elements: chlorine, or the more catalytic bromine. Compared atom-to-atom, bromine can destroy 10-100 times the number of ozone molecules as chlorine. Fortunately, its atmospheric concentration is much smaller.3

One of the other O3-destructive groups is called the hydrochlorofluorocarbons, or HCFC’s. HCFC’s are organic compounds in which not all of the hydrogen atoms have been replaced by chlorine or fluorine. One such compound is R-22 (HCFC-22), CHClF2.3

Some other non-CFC compounds that destroy the ozone layer include carbon tetrachloride (tetrachloromethane), CCl4; methyl chloroform (1,1,1 trichloroethane), CH3CCl3; and methyl chloride (chloromethane), CH3Cl.3

The result of ozone layer depletion is a increase in ultraviolet rays at the surface. Humans, animals, marine life, and plants are all susceptible to UV

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