Why is Ozone important to life on earth?
Ozone is the gas present in the atmosphere which has capacity to protect the living beings on the earth from the ultraviolet rays from the sun that are harmful. If there is no ozone layer in the atmosphere no living creature would have survived on the surface of the earth. It is evident that plants cannot survive in the intense ultraviolet radiation and the planktons also cannot bear the ultraviolet radiation which is used as food for the animals in the ocean. The ozone layer acts as the protection layer that absorbs the ultraviolet rays and prevents them from falling on the surface.
Ozone molecule has three oxygen atoms instead of two molecules. High above the earth’s surface of nearly 15 to 30 miles is present the ozone layer that is spread as a thin sheet. Ozone layer is present in the stratospheric stage of the atmosphere. If the ozone layer in the stratosphere is brought as it is on to the surface of the earth then it will form one inch thick layer.
Depletion of ozone layer has become a major issue recently. Loss of ozone layer will lead to many human health problems. The serious problem among the health issues is skin cancer. It was estimated (http://www.enotes.com/science-fact-finder/environment/how-does-ozone-benefit-life-earth) that for every one percent decrease in ozone layer, two to five percent increase in the incidence of skin cancer was observed. The ozone layer is known to absorb around 93 percent to 99 percent of ultraviolet rays coming from the sun. This layer constitutes about 91 percent of the total ozone present in the earth’s atmosphere.
The chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are the substances that are released by many appliances that we use on the earth. These CFCs rise high up into the atmosphere and depletes the ozone layer. These CFCs are evaporated from the appliances like air conditioners and refrigerators etc. As the protection becomes thinner day by day due to the harmful effluents that we are releasing into the atmosphere, more UV tends to pass onto the earth’s surface. The carbon-monoxide, sulfur-di-oxide and carbon-di-oxide are some of the gases that tend to destroy the protective shield of the atmosphere like ozone. This will cause disturbance in the greenhouse effect which will increase the temperature of the earth which creates harm to the life on earth. Hence, ozone is important to life on earth.