Information For Action www.informaction.org
What is ozone?
It is a colourless gas made up of oxygen that is found in the air.
What is the ozone layer?
It is an area that is about 10 ?30 miles above the earth where a lot of ozone gas can be found.
What does the ozone layer do?
It protects living things on earth, such as humans and animals, from being hurt by ultra-violet rays.
Has this layer been damaged?
Yes. There is a big hole in this layer. The hole goes over:
The North Pole and right down to Britain, Canada and the USA.
The South Pole as high as Australia, New Zealand and South America.
Should we care that there is a hole in the ozone layer?
Yes. Because the hole in the ozone layer lets in UV rays to the earth, this can cause us and the environment serious harm.
How can UV rays harm us and the environment?
They may cause:
More and more people to develop skin cancer, which can lead to death.
People to get sunburnt and develop wrinkles after spending only short amounts of time in the sun. This can then lead to skin cancer.
Plants to be harmed.
Plankton to be killed.
Animals and plants in the ocean to be hurt.
How has the hole in the ozone layer been damaged so much?
From the 1940's to the 1990's, humans used a chemical called chlorofluorocarbons, or CFC’s. CFC’s were used in:
Aerosol cans (spray cans).
Take-away foam containers.
What has been done to deal with this?
A lot, actually!
By 1990, the world’s major governments all decided that products with CFC in them would be banned.
Aerosol cans and take-away foam containers no longer have CFC’s in them.
This was a great step towards stopping the damage to our ozone layer. But, because humans had been using CFC’s for about fifty years, it will take a long time for the hole in the ozone layer to start healing.
What can you do to help?
When you learn about a way that humans are hurting the environment:
Tell people that you know, like your family and friends, all about what you have learnt.
Ask your parents to help you write to members of government in your country to share your concerns.
When people get together and share their concerns about the environment, the government will listen. Together, we can make a difference!