Ozone Depletion

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The ozone layer protects the Earth from the ultraviolet rays sent down by the sun.  If the ozone layer is depleted by human action, the effects on the planet could be catastrophic. Ozone is present in the stratosphere.  The stratosphere reaches 30 miles above the Earth, and at the very top it contains ozone.  The suns rays are absorbed by the ozone in the stratosphere and thus do not reach the Earth. | |

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| The Ozone Layer Over Time.  Image Credit: Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security.|
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Ozone is a bluish gas that is formed by three atoms of oxygen.  The form of oxygen that humans breathe in consists of two oxygen atoms, O2.  When found on the surface of the planet, ozone is considered a dangerous pollutant and is one substance responsible for producing the greenhouse effect. The highest regions of the stratosphere contain about 90% of all ozone.  In recent years, the ozone layer has been the subject of much discussion.  And rightly so, because the ozone layer protects both plant and animal life on the planet. The fact that the ozone layer was being depleted was discovered in the mid-1980s.  The main cause of this is the release of CFCs, chlorofluorocarbons. Antarctica was an early victim of ozone destruction.  A massive hole in the ozone layer right above Antarctica now threatens not only that continent, but many others that could be the victims of Antarctica's melting icecaps.  In the future, the ozone problem will have to be solved so that the protective layer can be conserved.
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