Unidentified Man-made Gases Risk the Ozone Layer

man-made-gasesIt is a very basic knowledge that the ozone layer found in the atmosphere is set to protect us from the sun’s damaging rays, and destroying it may mean destroying planet Earth as well. In 1985, the scientists from the British Antarctic Survey discovered a hole in the ozone over the Antarctica was found and the culprit was CFCs. Thanks to their rigorous study and campaigns against the production of CFC’s the product was banned and the hole slowly returned to its usual state. Unfortunately, scientists found a new reason to frown again because of the presence of four man-made gases in the atmosphere that are yet to be identified. Experts from the University of East Anglia (UEA) have found four new threats to the ozone layer, which ought to be studied further.

In their published journal, Nature Geoscience, the scientists showed four gases, which are currently identified as CFC-112, CFC-112a, CFC-113a, and HFC-133a. The gases are in about 15km to 30 km above the Earth’s surface, creating a hindrance to ozone’s protective defense to Earth. CFC-113a has been found to be in the agriculture sector that is most likely included in pesticides and insecticides dubbed as pyrethroids. Along with HFC-113a, CFC-113a is also found to be intermediaries in refrigerants. The researchers further revealed that two of these gases are increasing at alarming levels. Meanwhile, CFC-112 and CFC-112a are found in solvents used to clean electrical components. According to the scientists in UEA, CFC-112 and CFC-112a have been found to be in undetectable levels before the 60’s, but its level greatly increased in the middle of 1990’s. Because of the Montreal Protocol, the reduction of harmful substances found in the 60’s, the levels of the mentioned chemicals declined. Sadly, CFC-113a shows persistence in the atmosphere and it’s even present in alarming levels since the scientists’ last study in 2012. Currently, it has been reported that roughly 74,900 tons of these gases are present in the atmosphere, creating slowly destruction in the ozone. Lead researcher, Dr. Johannes Laube, noted that the gases have not been in the atmosphere until the 60’s, suggesting that they’re all man-made. The study was made by analyzing the components of a polar snow pack. The air removed from the snow pack tells the contents of the atmosphere for a hundred years. While there are certainly ways to stop the emission of these gases despite the lack of present information on its sources, it has been studied that it isn’t easy for this gas to be entirely abolished from the atmosphere even when emissions are to be stopped today.

To enable the understanding of the current state of the atmosphere and the ozone, the researchers have been collecting samples of modern air from far flung areas of Cape Grim in Tasmania. The scientists claimed that while some of the gases are concentrated at very small rates, it doesn’t mean that they’ve got very little work to do because finding the sources of these gases is a very big concern today. Of the four gases found, CFC-113a is dubbed to be increasing steadily, which can reach to alarming levels in the years to come. Apart from that, the study shows that ozone layer depletion still proves to be a main concern. As consumers and inhabitants of planet Earth, it is but our job to protect this planet from slow, but painful destruction.

One of the most known ways to take care of the ozone layer is to avoid buying appliances and electronic gadgets that have CFCs or chloroflourocarbon. In addition to that, avoid buying insulating goods that contain CFCs; maintain the cleanliness of the air conditioner as they can emit CFC overtime when left dirty; ensure that refrigerators and car air conditioning systems don’t have leaks; patronize on appliances that are non-CFCs; and avoid buying skin care products that contain CFC. Apart from CFCs, ozone layer depletion is also caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. To reduce the amount of greenhouse gases, opt for eco-friendly means to go through your daily life. Walk or ride a bike to go to school or run errands; practice car pooling; patronize eco-friendly gadgets, appliances, and equipment; choose only all natural beauty methods and environment-friendly skin care products; go for organic food choices; and practice the habits of reusing, recycling, and reducing. For car owners, make sure to switch off your engine when not in use for more than 2 minutes and have it maintained regularly. For gadget owners, do not dump unused and old gadgets immediately. Try upgrading or have them refurbished.

Definitely, there are tons of ways on how to keep our atmosphere safe and clean, and all these ways must start within ourselves. In order for children to grow eco-conscious, they should see their parents being environment friendly as well.