The ozone layer–why is it important?

This image of the planet depicts an example of depletion of the ozone layer. The blue and green areas show heavy depletion and the warmer toned reds and oranges show lighter depletion. (Photo courtesy of Public Domain)

Ozone–the combination of three oxygen molecules–can be found in the troposphere as a protective layer in our atmosphere. Ozone keeps harmful UV rays from the sun from reaching us and severely damaging our skin, eyes, and other essential body parts. 


Ozone is needed to keep humans safe, but our everyday activities are found to contribute heavily to the depletion of the ozone layer. The highest cause of ozone depletion is the release of chlorofluorocarbons (or CFCs) into the atmosphere. CFCs are oftentimes emitted through aerosols; air conditioning units, refrigerators, pesticides, and propellants all contain CFCs. These chemicals have been destroying the ozone layer for the better part of a century.


With the continuous growth and advancements of technology and energy production, CFCs are being emitted at increasing amounts. With the recent “stay home” policies that most countries have enacted, there has been a great reduction in travel, energy production, and other things that would contribute to the release of CFCs.

The largest hole in the ozone layer over the Arctic zone closed up after having opened up in early 2020. With this closure, it shows that it is possible to stabilize the ozone layer and avoid further elimination. The ozone layer can be restored back to safe levels everywhere.

NASA is constantly observing the status of the ozone layer; you can track the history and progress on The site gives a daily picture of what the ozone layer looks like, along with any facts, updates, or occurrences or importance.

To help minimize the depletion of the ozone layer, people need to be aware of their everyday activities that can put ozone in jeopardy. Driving cars, using harmful cleaning products, and dangerous gas usage when put at a large scale are all large sources to the release of CFCs. Be aware of the atmosphere and what you are doing to help it out.


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