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Know the Benefits of Ozone Layer Protection

Since the Montreal Protocol of 1987, international agreements have been in place to phase out ozone-depleting compounds and reduce ozone depletion. As a result, the stratospheric ozone map's thickness is expected to be reduced.

Shivam Dwivedi
View of Ozone Layer (Pic Credit- European Space Agency)
View of Ozone Layer (Pic Credit- European Space Agency)

We all know that stratospheric ozone layer is the principal shield against solar UV radiation. Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is considered as a health hazard, as it causes skin and eye damage, as well as immune system impacts that affect health.

High-energy UV photons are absorbed by the ozone layer, which prevents them from reaching the earth's surface. As a result of the catalytic depletion of the ozone layer, the amount of UV radiation that reaches the earth's surface increases, increasing the risk-averse health impacts. As a result, the preservation and restoration of the ozone layer are critical to human health.

Evidence of Protection of Ozone Layer:

Studies have highlighted effective catalytic degradation of ozone as a result of human-made chlorofluoromethanes in a seminal work published in 1974. These chlorofluoromethanes remain in the troposphere, but released chlorine atoms open up and reach the stratosphere, where they catalyze ozone depletion.

The discovery of the Antarctica ozone hole in 1985 raised concern about catalytic ozone destruction. Following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, research over the next decade proved that heterogeneous chlorine chemistry was capable of depleting more ozone than gas-phase mechanisms alone.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency investigated the health effects of ozone-depleting substances (ODS)-induced changes in stratospheric ozone on the US population in the 1980s (EPA). The eyes, skin, and immune systems are primarily affected by UV radiation's health consequences.

Effect of UV Radiation on the Eyes

UV exposure can induce cataracts, SCC in the cornea, conjunctivitis, and other damage to the eye surface. Cataracts cause the clear lens of the eye to become clouded, resulting in vision loss and blindness.

Effect of UV Radiation on the Skin

Erythema, popularly known as sunburn, skin ageing, and an increased risk of numerous types of cancer are all side effects of ultraviolet light. Keratinocyte cancer and cutaneous malignant melanoma are two of these malignancies.

Effect of UV Radiation on the Immune System

Overexposure to UV radiation can weaken the body's immune system, resulting in the reactivation of latent viral infections, an increase in the frequency of skin malignancies caused by viruses, and an increased risk of infection. Immunosuppression is another term for this.

Immunosuppression Is particularly problematic when it comes to illnesses that affect the skin, such as leprosy and malaria. Sun exposure can stimulate the herpes simplex virus, which is an example of an infection caused by UV-induced immunosuppression.

Melanoma, on the other hand, is regarded to be the most devastating human health effect caused by sun exposure; melanoma kills about 7100 people in the United States each year.

UV radiation can also modify organic molecules in the body, resulting in the development of novel antigens, which could act as immune system triggers.

Since the Montreal Protocol of 1987, international agreements have been in place to phase out ozone-depleting compounds and reduce ozone depletion. As a result, the stratospheric ozone map thickness is expected to be reduced. The Montreal Protocol has lately been recognized as "the most successful environmental deal ever," according to an evaluation of its performance.

Compliance with international accords must be maintained in order to prevent the depletion of stratospheric ozone, which is critical for human health!!

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