The Importance of the Ozone Layer
Everyone has heard about the invisible layer that protects the Earth from potentially dangerous rays from the sun. If you remember from high school science classes, you know that it is located in the stratosphere and that its job is to protect everything here on Earth, including humans, from potentially dangerous ultraviolet rays. However, much of that ozone layer has been eroded over the last several decades. This has happened as a direct result of pollutants that are caused by burning fossil fuels, as well as emissions from vehicles, factories and similar facilities.
As a direct result, the ozone layer is far less capable of providing the level of protection that it needs to in order for you to stay healthy and safe. Therefore, it requires every individual to put forth more effort when it comes to understanding the risks associated with a diminished ozone layer, as well as knowing what to do about the situation and even how to prevent it from getting worse.
The reason this is so important is because the diminished ozone layer actually presents a number of potentially serious health concerns for all individuals, even young, healthy adults. Many people that are exposed to these ultraviolet rays are at an increased risk for skin cancer but there are also other issues that exist as a direct result of the pollutants that cause the problem in the first place. These issues typically involve inflammation in the lungs that can eventually lead to more chronic conditions such as asthma or other chronic breathing problems. This in turn can exacerbate other problems and over time, severe lung issues can cause problems with the cardiovascular system and in some cases, even certain types of cancers. This becomes even more likely for those individuals who are exposed to high levels of pollutants.
As previously mentioned, everyone is at risk for developing these types of problems when they are around high levels of pollution for extended periods of time. However, people that are already suffering from any type of chronic health condition, those who have a weak immune system, the very young and the very old are most at risk. Furthermore, those individuals who spend an inordinate amount of time outdoors each day are also at an increased risk for developing complications later on.
There are several things that you can do to minimize your risk of health concerns as a result of being around pollutants, thereby increasing the chances that you can live a healthier life. First and foremost, pay attention to weather forecasts and air quality reports. This will let you know how severe the risk is on any given day. Next, do your best not to spend a lot of time outdoors when the risks are high. Do as much as you can indoors, even if that means exercising indoors and refraining from taking a walk or doing other outdoor activities.
Doing Your Part
How do you do your part to prevent this problem from getting worse than it already is? Because the problem was caused by energy consumption and emissions from vehicles, there are a lot of things that you can do as an individual. Make sure that you turn off lights and appliances when they are not in use. You can even take that a step further and unplug appliances when you are not using them, as appliances that are plugged in consume energy even when they are not turned on. By the same token, you can use energy efficient light bulbs, carpool or take public transportation when you need to go somewhere, and recycle as much as possible. All of these things will help to reduce the damage that is being inflicted on the ozone layer so that the problem doesn’t continue to worsen over time.
While it might seem like the problem is overwhelming, the good news is that with effort, you can usually manage the situation. You can also do your part to make things better. These are important first steps toward making the positive changes that need to be made in order to ensure that this problem does not continue to become a bigger issue.