Ozone and Greenhouse Effect
Rational use of natural resources and environmental protection are two very important and urgent problems in the world. Their solutions are inseparably connected with the world struggle for peace, the prevention of nuclear disaster, disarmament, peaceful coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation of all countries. In the last decade, humanity has seen a sharp temperature increase. Why does it happen? Scientists claim that the reason for this is a destructive human activity that leads to a global climate change. Fuel combustion in power plants, a dramatic increase of waste and means of transport, and a reducing amount of forested areas lead to the increase of carbon dioxide emissions in the Earth’s atmosphere. As a result, the humanity observes the emergence of so-called greenhouse effect. The mankind explores the nature without understanding of the possible consequences. This study, therefore, focuses on the ozone and greenhouse effect and their impact on the humanity and ecology.
One of the main ecological problems nowadays is ground-level ozone. It should be said that ozone is a gas that appears in both the earth’s upper atmosphere and at its ground level. Depending on its location, this gas can be useful or harmful for our health and the environment. Useful ozone appears in the natural way as a protective covering in the upper atmosphere, and it prevents the sun’s harmful UV rays from reaching the planet. Unfortunately, it is easy to destroy it by industrial facilities’ chemical compounds, motor vehicle exhaust, chlorofluorocarbons and other substances. What is more, if it is destroyed, it is not easy to renew. As a result, holes in the ozone layer occur (“Ground Level Ozone”).
Thanks to an irresponsible human activity and industry development, the population of big cities is faced with the problem of ground-level ozone, which is the harmful one. Its chemical compound appears due to the work of power plants and factories, transport, gasoline-powered lawn equipment and because of paints, vapors, cleaners, and other solvents. Gas compounds of these emissions mix in the ground atmosphere, and after interaction with sunlight, harmful ozone is formed. It is one of the basic smog components that reduces visibility on roads and in the air, increases the corrosion of metals and damages the infrastructures, as well as has a harmful effect on the environment and people. Breathing ground-level ozone can сause many health problems, particularly for those people suffering from asthma and other lung diseases (“Ground Level Ozone”). Children and the elderly people are also in the risk group. This type of ozone can cause headaches, heavy breathing, and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and throat. Also, ground-level ozone is harmful for sensitive vegetation and ecosystems. Mostly, people and animals feel the influence of this gas in the morning, when it is concentrated in the ground level of the atmosphere. By the midday, the earth’s surface heats up, and ground-level ozone rises under the influence of ascending streams of air (“Ground-Level Ozone”).
In order to reduce the amount of ground ozone that appears as a result of human activity and industrialization, the biggest world cities, as well as whole countries, create and implement special air programs and regulations aimed at stopping harmful processes. For example, one can take a closer look at actions that are being taken in the New York area to address local ozone pollution. Here, ozone action days should be mentioned. These are the days when citizens prefer to spend less time out of homes because of high level of ground ozone. Usually, the most dangerous time is from the early afternoon to evening during the period from May to September.
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The New York State Department of Transportation informs citizens when ground-level ozone concentration is the most unhealthy. Also, in New York, people are asked to grow more plants in the houses and outside them in order to improve the quality of the air. It is a well-known fact that green plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, and they prevent ground-level ozone formation (“Ground-Level Ozone”). In New York area, many actions aim to spread bicycling instead of using gasoline vehicles to reduce the mount of harmful emissions causing the appearance of ground-level ozone. The standards for different types of vehicles are also changed. What is more, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency makes great effort to improve quality of air in national parks and wilderness areas. Also, there are some social activities calling for reducing deodorant sprays and other aerosol substances. That means that people are aware of the ground-level ozone, and they are ready to contribute to the process of air quality improvement.
Speaking about the influence of greenhouse effect on the ecosystem and environment, it should be said that there are two sides of greenhouse effect. Long-term observations show that gas composition and dust in the lower atmosphere has changed much. Millions of soil particles rise into the air from farmland during dust storms. A large amount of suspended particles of different gases gets into the atmosphere from the mineral output, cement production, fertilizing, tire friction on the roads, burning fuels and industrial waste emissions. Determination of air composition shows that now, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 25% higher than it was 200 years ago. This is definitely a result of economic human activity, as well as deforestation and the lack of green leaves absorbing carbon dioxide. Because of the increase in carbon dioxide concentration in the air, greenhouse effect occurs in the heated ground-ozone levels of the earth. It happens because the atmosphere transmits solar radiation. Some rays are absorbed by the planet; they heat the earth’s surface that leads to atmosphere heating. Another part of the rays is reflected from the planet’s surface, and this radiation is absorbed by carbon dioxide molecules (Edmonds and Saunders 76). This process contributes to the rise of average temperature on the planet and the overall well-being of living creatures. The impact of greenhouse effect on our health and the whole ecosystem is terrible.
However, from the point of view of Hess, McKnight, and Tasa, greenhouse effect is important for life existence on the earth’s surface. This environmental issue was called greenhouse effect because of small greenhouses where plants and trees grow in the cold regions. They produce heat and keep it inside. This means that without the greenhouse effect, the Earth would be too cold for most creatures to live on it. At the same time, if the greenhouse effect increases, it makes the planet warmer than needed. This warming can be harmful for the ecosystem and lead to serious environmental problems connected with life existence (Hess, McKnight, and Tasa 82-83).
There is a statement that the atmosphere is mostly heated from the earth than the sun. In my opinion, without sun, there will be no heat at all. Since without heat and light life is impossible, then it would be impossible to live on the Earth without the sun. The Earth depends on it as there is no alternative source of energy of a kind at all. Sure, nowadays, the average planet temperature is higher than hundreds years ago. It is a real danger, but even though the high level of industrialization and air pollution creates artificial blocks for sun rays, the atmosphere is still mostly heated from the sun. Mankind has not created the alternative to sun yet; it only decreases its usefulness.
In conclusion, it should be said that air pollution is one of the most dangerous ones because its consequences can be adverse for life on the planet. People need to think about the impact of their activity on the planet and reduce the harmful actions against environment and nature. People can grow or buy organic food, and drink only purified water. However, they cannot protect their lungs from dirt because the air that people breathe cannot be bought; it is free, but it is one for everyone. It seems that people soon will have to wear a gas mask, or even a respirator with a charcoal filter. Awareness of the danger of air pollution, ground-level ozone, its reasons and ways of protection from its harmful influence on people’s health has become a concern of the public and governments of industrialized countries. Dirty air masses do not know national borders. Air protection affects the interests of all countries. Constant air pollution increases the health problems in both children and adults. Clean air is the key to good health.