The only thing that stops the earth from getting fried is the ozone layer. As an umbrella protects us from rain, ozone protects the earth from the sun. The reduction of ozone concentrations in the stratosphere and the formation of the ozone hole each year are caused by complex meteorological and chemical processes. The status of the Ozone layer depletion takes place when the chlorine and bromine atoms in the atmosphere come in contact with ozone and destroy the ozone molecules. When the ozone hole was first detected, there was an emotional debate in which many U.S. industries fiercely resisted a ban on CFCs. It took a few years for scientists to show conclusively that human activity was causing the damage.
The annually occurring ozone hole over the Antarctic is one of the largest and deepest in recent years. Chlorofluorocarbons are the most abundant ozone-depleting substance. Apart from it, unregulated rocket launches, nitrogenous compounds and natural causes like volcanic eruptions also contribute to the same. Analyses show that the hole has reached its maximum size. The 2020 ozone hole has grown rapidly from mid-August and peaked at around 24 million square kilometers in early October. It now covers 23 million km2, above average for the last decade and spreading over most of the Antarctic continent. The 2021 ozone hole has been similar in depth and size to 2020. The Montreal Protocol was proposed in 1987 to stop the use, production and import of ozone-depleting substances and minimize their concentration in the atmosphere to protect the ozone layer of the earth.
The depletion in ozone layer can result in serious health issues among humans, such as skin diseases, cancer, sunburns, cataract, quick aging and weak immune system. Direct exposure to ultraviolet radiation leads to skin and eye cancer in animals. Strong ultraviolet rays may lead to minimal growth, flowering and photosynthesis in plants. The forests also have to bear the harmful effects of the ultraviolet rays. Planktons are greatly affected by the exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays. Many initiatives have been taken in this regard however, steps should be taken at the individual level as well to prevent the depletion of the ozone layer.We can take steps like avoiding or limiting use of ODS and CFCs, minimize the Use of Vehicles and make sure that we are using eco-friendly cleaning products.