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Global Environmental Issues- Ozone Depletion & The Collapse of Fisheries

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Term Paper Description
Global Environmental Issues- Ozone Depletion & The Collapse of Fisheries
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Coastal Carolina University
Environment and Economic
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Global Environmental Issues-Ozone Depletion & The Collapse of Fisheries
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Paper Abstract

Global Environmental Issues

Ozone Depletion & The Collapse of Fisheries



Ozone depletion and the collapse of fisheries are or at least should be of global concern.  The depletion and collapse are attributed to global manufacturing, production, and consumption.  Social, political, environmental, and economic issues have direct and indirect influences on the Earth we live on and the species that inhabit it.  In this paper we will discuss global environmental issues with an emphasis on ozone depletion and the collapse of fisheries. 

Ozone Depletion

The ozone is composed of a thin layer of the oxygen that is poisonous in its natural state.  The ozone is in essence an oxidizer that can be harmful to living creatures and many materials. This ozone gas occurs naturally in clean air but in harmless amounts only ten parts per billion (ppb).  “This term was coined in 1839 by Christian Friedrich Schonbein (1799-1868), a chemistry professor at the University of Basel, Switzerland, who noticed a peculiar Gestank while running electrical currents through water. In German he said Ozon , which is derived from the Greek o’zein, meaning to smell” (Biddle, 1998).

The smell Friedrich smelled is similar to what one may smell in the air after a thunderstorm. It comes about because ordinary oxygen molecules are dissociated by lightning bolts. These free atoms combine with other 02 molecules and form the triatomic ozone. This form of oxygen is highly unstable because it will give the extra 02 molecule to any substance it comes in contact with in a effort to become 02 once again. Ozone is located ten to fifty kilometers above the earth’s surface on the stratosphere it plays an important role in promoting and protecting human, animal and environmental life; by preventing the sun’s ultraviolet B radiation from reaching the earth’s surface. In its naturally occurring state it could prevent up to 99% if this UV radiation from reaching the earth’s surface.

                The chemical compound culprit behind the exacerbated depletion of the ozone is known as chlorofluorocarbons. These are a class of synthetic organic chemical compounds composed of carbon and various combinations of chlorine, fluorine, and hydrogen. These chemical compounds are better known as CFCs and are non-toxic and stable once released primarily. CFCs were developed in 1928 for use in home refrigeration units, replacing less stable, (flammable), compounds that were harder to implement into the manufacturing process. There uses grew rapidly during the 1950’s and this trend continued through the mid 1970’s. CFCs were implemented in a wide range of applications such as cleaning and blowing agents, and propellants.

                CFCs stability is what makes them so harmful to ozone layer and thus human and organic life.  CFCs drift into the stratosphere before decomposing. “As hypothesized in 1974 by F. Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina (who won a Nobel Prize in 1995 for their work), chlorine from CFCs is able to break down ozone in the stratosphere. CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances, in the presence of ultraviolet radiation, eventually decompose to include a chlorine free radical, which reacts with ozone to create an oxygen molecule and chlorine monoxide. The chlorine molecule can repeat the process, causing a chain reaction in which one chlorine atom can destroy thousands of ozone molecules.” …

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