Just like we open up an umbrella to protect ourselves from the rain as it comes pouring down from the sky above, mother nature has a unique umbrella of its own. This umbrella is formed by the ozone layer present in the stratosphere layer of our atmosphere. The harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun which could completely convert our green and blue earth into a barren planet are prevented from reaching the surface by the ozone layer. Unfortunately, the ozone layer is on the verge of depletion which can lead to disastrous consequences. In order to spread awareness of ozone layer depletion, World Ozone Day is celebrated on the 16th of September every year.
World Ozone Day was established by the United Nations in 1994 and people from all over the globe gather in Montreal, Canada every year to spread awareness about the topic.
There are two sides to a coin and similarly there are two sides of ozone – the Good Ozone and the Bad Ozone.
The Good Ozone
- The ozone which forms the ozone layer in the stratosphere
- Formed when UV rays from the sun react with an oxygen molecule to split it into 2 single oxygen atoms
- The single O atoms react with O2 to form O3 (ozone)
- Prevents us from the harmful UV rays
The Bad Ozone
- Occurs at the level of the troposphere where we live
- Manmade: formed due to the emission of NOx and volatile organic compounds from vehicles and factories.
- During sunny days the above-mentioned compounds might react with the atmospheric oxygen to form ground-level ozone
- Ground-level ozone can result in severe lung problems
Prevention of ozone from depleting can be achieved by the following ways:
- Minimized use of vehicles
- Restriction on chlorofluorocarbons
- Less use of pesticides
- Less use of nitrous oxide
ZERO CARBON FOOTPRINT
The increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has driven some, if not all, to contribute to reducing the presence of carbon dioxide. Zero Carbon Footprint means to eliminate the release of carbon into the environment so that there is no need for taking actions to decrease the carbon concentration.
- Planting of trees is the most basic step towards achieving this goal
- Recycling is another way to reduce the carbon emissions released due to the incineration of waste
- Changes in our day to day lives can contribute to this movement if people switch to using bicycles and walking by foot