September 16 is the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. It was proclaimed by the UN in 1974, a couple of decades late but… better late than never.
The questions many ask: How big is the hole in the ozone layer? Is it getting bigger? Is it too late?
How big is the ozone hole? Very big! 8.9 million square miles (23 million square kilometres ); only slightly smaller than the whole of North America.
Ozone hole 9/13/2013 – Ozone Watch
Is the hole in the ozone layer getting bigger?
The ozone hole was biggest in 2006 – at 10 million square miles (26 million square kilometres) – but since the ban on CFCs, halons and other ozone-destroying chlorine compounds it actually got a tiny bit smaller. On average, it is less than 7.7 million square miles (20 million square kilometres) and in 2012 it actually was the smallest in years, at 6.9 million square miles (17,9 million square kilometres). But that’s not its constant size – it is largest in September and October of each year, up to the mentioned 8.9 million square miles (measured 9/13/13).
Why should you care? Because the ozone layer is that thin shield that protects you from the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. Without it, you’ll get cancer, go blind and suffer a whole range of nasty illnesses. In short, you’ll die painfully.
You might feel safer if you think that because the ozone hole is over the Antarctic it wouldn’t affect you in the Northern Hemisphere or elsewhere. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology explains, “After the ozone hole has broken up parcels of ozone depleted air mixed with mid latitude air move north.”
Is it too late to save the ozone layer?
The answer “No.” It’s not too late. Given a fair chance, Mother Nature has a remarkable way of fixing things. But it needs your help, starting today:
1. Use eco-friendly products.
2. Do not use pesticides or nitrate fertilizer – they are extremely harmful to the ozone layer.
3. Walk, ride a bicycle, use public transport or use car pooling rather than driving just by yourself.
4. Push hard for more stringent control over high-altitude aircraft programs and space rockets; they expel harmful compounds in the middle and upper stratosphere layer, near the ozone layer.
It’s about chocolate and more!
As we oft say, Earth is the only planet with chocolate. Let’s take care of Earth!