Ozone depletion potential or ODP is a very crucial matter in the recent era. In this article, we will learn, what is ODP, why ozone layer depletion happens, root causes, effects, etc.
Let’s explore the ozone depletion potential!
Let’s try to understand ozone depletion potential. The advancements in the technologies come up with some price sometimes. Ozone layer depletion is one of the most critical examples of it. The Ozone layer is a protective layer in the earth’s stratosphere and this layer is now depleted. There are various reasons for the depletion of the ozone layer. It may be many reasons, like,
Depletion of the Ozone layer has long-lasting effects, that is why the depletion of the ozone layer should be addressed. There are some rules and protocols made after realizing the threat because of the depletion. Let’s know more about the depletion, causes, and effects on life on earth.
Before going towards the ozone depletion potential let’s know more about the Ozone layer in a brief.
Back in 1913 Charles Febry and Henri Buisson discovered the ozone layer. They found the radiation rays from the sun were getting absorbed, later scientists developed the Dobson unit to measure the amount of ozone overhead.
In simple words, the ozone layer is a protective layer that protects the life,
A small percentage of the hole has been seen in Antarctica regions. Right now, there is no direct evidence of damages due to the small percent of the hole. If this continues the levels of UV rays will rise up.
In November 2011 report at the institute of zoology in London found, cases of widespread evidence of epidermal damage commonly associated with acute and severe sunburn. These are mainly due to rising levels of UV lights.
These are the reasons why the ozone layer is so much of important right now.
Let’s know about the Ozone depletion potential.
The term ozone depletion potential, in simple words, is the thing of the earth’s protective ozone layer. It is caused due to the release of chemical compounds in the atmosphere mainly, bromine and chlorine.
Basically, the Ozone depletion potential (ODP) is a measure of how much a chemical can cause damage to the ozone layer of a similar mass of trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11). CFC-11.
The ODP number 1.0 is used as a base for measuring the depletion potential.
So, the higher the number is more is the damage to the ozone layer by a chemical. Different chemical compounds have different ODP numbers. Just like the R-22 has an ODP of 0.05. On the other hand, bromine has a tendency to react with ozone and that is why brominated substance has high ODP range. It sometimes goes up to 15 from 5.
Here is the common list of compounds and their ozone-depleting potential numbers.
So, basically, the ozone depleting substances contain,
The chlorofluorocarbon causes the highest risk to the ozone layer depletion. Now we have known about the various chemicals and their ODP numbers. Now let’s know how exactly these chemicals cause the ozone layer depletion.
There are two types of causes for ozone depletion potential,
The causes of ozone layer depletion are man-made. There are some natural causes like sun-sports and stratospheric winds but these are not much effective. Their effects are temporary and only cause 1-2% of depletion.
If we look towards the man-made causes there are causes like the release of chlorine and bromine gases. The man-made compounds like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, and HCFCs (hydro-chlorofluorocarbons. As we have seen in the above sections these substances are categorized as the ozone-depleting potentials.
You may be thinking like, these gases would be washed out in the forms of rains. But that’s the main problem these gases don’t get washed in the form of rains; they remain in the atmosphere for a long time.
These are somewhat less harmful than Chlorofluorocarbons. The HCFCs were serving the purpose of ozone layer depletion replacing the CFCs.
These are the most harmful substances responsible for ozone layer depletion. You can think of its impact as the CFCs accounts for more than 80% of ozone layer depletion.
One of the reasons for this much percentage is that they are used in lots of applications. It was used as a coolant in refrigerators, air conditioners at home as well as in cars & other various industries. They have been extensively used in the cars and household applications manufactured prior to 1995.
Halons, Carbon tetrachloride
These are mainly found in the fire extinguishers.
These are used in the industries for cold cleaning, vapor degreasing works.
Now we know about the causes of ozone layer depletion. The effects are also a future threat let’s know more about them.
Human health issues
The ozone layer depletion will cause the UV rays to come directly to the earth.
Aquatic life and effects on animals
The planktons are mostly affected by the ozone layer depletion. The planktons are the organisms found in water. Planktons include plants and animals which can propel themselves against the wind.
In the food chain of aquatic animals, they are on the top. If their numbers are reduced the marine food chain will be disrupted. Also, certain species of fish are prone to UV light rays.
Effects on materials
The materials are also affected by the harmful UV rays. Materials like plastics, wood, fabrics, rubber can be degraded because of UV radiation.
So how we can stop or at least decrease the rate of depletion? There are some ways which we can employ to protect the ozone layer. Also, the scientist is searching for the alternatives for the gases that cause the ozone depletion.
Natural ways over pesticides
On the farm, various pesticides are used to get rid of pests and weeds. This use should be limited and natural ways of getting rid of weeds and pests should be encouraged. The chemicals added to the pesticides contribute to ozone layer depletion.
Limit the use of private vehicles
One of the main causes of ozone layer depletion is the chemicals from the exhaust of vehicles. The vehicles on the roads should be limited which will result in less greenhouse gases. Also, stricter laws for pollutions should be applied in the future.
Employing environment-friendly products
In our homes, there are lots of household cleaning products available right now with harsh chemicals. These chemicals will find a way to the atmosphere. We can opt for use of natural environment-friendly cleaning products.
Stricter government actions on emissions
The nitrous oxide is also one of the contributors to ozone layer depletion. But it was not added in the previous Montreal protocol. There is a need of limiting and employing more stricter actions and laws from the government and they should be made to follow strictly.
The major thing that happened to address the ozone layer depletion known as the Montreal protocol. The ozone layer hole found in the Antarctica region is getting recovered because of these steps.
In September 1987 about twenty-four countries took part in the Vienna convention. The agreements were done for phasing out the use of CFCs and other ozone layer depleting substances (ODS). This convention highlighted the two main points,
The Montreal protocol was applied on 25 August 1989 and the revisions were made in subsequent years.
Apart from phasing out the chemicals, there are also issues like there are not alternatives available right now to replace the ODS. Such as the halons that are very useful in fire suppression, there are no better alternatives available right now. Some developing countries don’t have enough GDP to opt for better environmentally friendly options. They have to buy technologies from other countries and some countries couldn’t afford them. But the good thing is they are also slowly phasing out the harmful gases.
Hence, we have got a basic idea all about ozone depletion potential, its causes, effects, etc.
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