What is the ozone layer?

The sun emits ultraviolet sun rays to the earth’s surface. The impact of the rays’ wavelength and intensity depends on the distance the rays cover to the earth’s surface and the availability of obstacles to stop the rays from directly hitting the earth’s surface. The only obstacle stopping the rays from hitting the earth’s surface is the different ozone layers found between the earth’s surface and the sun. One of these layers is the stratospheric ozone layer, which plays a significant role in the absorption of the ultraviolet rays.

Causes of the ozone hole

The ozone layer protects the UV rays from direct contact with the earth’s surface; however, this is changing. Many economic activities on the earth’s surface have led to the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon and nitrogen, responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer. The constant depletion of the layer has led to the formation of a hole in the ozone layer. The result is an ozone hole and a thin ozone layer, which allows many UV rays from the sun to meet the earth’s surface.

Ozone hole consequences

The impact of this depletion has led to a lot of ultraviolet rays encountering the earth’s surface. Such rays impact the human population, plants, aquatic life, and other materials. The ozone layer plays an essential role in the environment, climatology, and biology; due to its depletion, these roles are negatively affected.

Impacts on plants

Plants have become the largest victims of ozone layer depletion since they cover a wider earth surface compared to humans and animals. They are also in direct contact with the rays, unlike animals and humans, who rely on shelters and plants to protect them from direct sun rays.

The ozone layer depletion has led to the extinction of about 30% of the major plant species in the previous centuries. The direct sun rays have altered climatic zones, conditions, and weather patterns that had previously supported certain plants’ growth. Plants that rely on heavy rainfall and low sun rays can no longer grow since the ideal conditions for growth do no longer exist.

The UV rays have also increased the rate of evaporation and transpiration beyond the normal level. Excess evaporation rate has led to the rapid depletion of moisture in the soil, thereby leading to a decreased amount of water that plants need for productivity, such as fruit development. Some plants have died due to insufficient water in the soil.

Changes in major plant structures such as leaves. As UV rays’ intensity increases, plant leaves’ sizes decrease while the thickness increase. Plants reduce the sizes of their leaves and increase their thickness to minimize evaporation and transpiration rate. The size of a plant leaf determines its productivity since it determines the plant’s ability to absorb gases necessary for respiration and reproduction. Reduced and thicker leaves mean a decline in plant productivity.

Impacts on aquatic ecosystems

The aquatic ecosystem is not free from the destruction and challenges that come with the depletion of the ozone layer. Increased UV rays have led to increased penetration of sun rays into the water leading to increased visibility, which results in increased eutrophication. Eutrophication refers to the growth of algae in water bodies. The increased growth means that these plants hinder the movement of aquatic animals in the water. Eutrophication has also led to increased death of aquatic plants and animals due to the increased competition for oxygen dissolved in water.

Increased UV rays have also led to an increased amount of lignin and tannins compound into the water, which reduces the penetration of sun rays into the water. The reduced rate of penetration hinders the photosynthesis process in water plants.

Impacts on human beings and animals

Human beings feel the impact of ozone layer depletion on various aspects, such as human health and economic activities.

Impacts on human health

Human beings have suffered more from ozone depletion compared to other organisms. The increased UV rays intensity and wavelengths have led to the rise of many diseases that previously did not exist. The world is currently experiencing a rise in the threat of cancer as more types of cancer rise in various regions globally. That’s why using portable ozone generators is highly recommended to increase ozone levels in indoor settings. One of the most common forms of cancer is skin cancer, which is caused by increased UV rays that directly impact the skin. Many cases of skin cancer arise in regions with high UV rays and fewer mediums to protect the inhabitants from direct rays.

Increased UV rays have also led to increased cases of eye damage. For the optimal functioning of an eye, a certain amount of light is required since excessive UV rays can lead to chronic eye damage. The UV rays impact the cornea, and constant exposure to the UV rays eventually leads to eye complications such as cataracts and clouding of the eye lens.

Other diseases are becoming detrimental, and the impacts are escalating compared to when they were first discovered. These diseases include HIV, AIDS, Leprosy, and tuberculosis. Due to the increased impacts and effects of such diseases, the human lifespan is also declining.

Impacts on human economic activities

Economic activities by human beings have also faced certain setbacks. The unstoppable forest fires are fueled and caused by extreme UV rays. Other companies, like fossil fuel companies, are at risk of future collapse due to the world’s resolution to seek cleaner energy sources such as water, sunlight, and wind. Increased UV rays have also led to a rise in sea levels. This is caused by the increased melting of snow and ice in the regions located at the North Pole. Because of increased melting, excess water flows into the oceans, rivers, and lakes. The rise in water levels is the numerous floods in the plains, which have led to human displacement, destruction of transport systems, destruction of farms, and other economic activities. Finally, due to increased evaporation, many parts of the world are experiencing a water shortage. Inconsistent and unpredictable rainfalls and water storage depletion in underground rocks are the greatest cause of water shortages.


As the world draws nearer to the extreme intensity of UV rays, corrective actions are necessary to overcome UV rays’ impacts. Solutions are available; however, it will take a while before the ozone layer is sealed again as it was previously. Some of these solutions will involve the greatest sacrifices in human history.
The solutions involve the elimination of fossil and nuclear fuels and replacing them with renewable and clean energy. Machines that previously relied on non-renewable energy should be re-engineered to use renewable energy. Massive forestation and vast lands have been cleared for human settlement, and more will be cleared to accommodate the rising population. To achieve forestation, the world has to utilize every small and unused space available to plant trees. Meeting these solutions can be challenging since some raw materials like wood and fossil fuel are necessary for major activities today. The decision to cover the ozone hole is worth it despite the impending consequences.