THE RELATIVE IMPACT OF OZONE DEPLETION ON HUMAN AND THE ECOSYSTEM
This project examines “the relative impact of ozone depletion on human and the ecosystem”. The study was carried out among six (6) selected departments, faculty of science education in Ekiti state university, Ekiti Nigeria. The sample consists of thirty (30) lecturers randomly selected among the six (6) departments using descriptive questionnaire. Data collected on Yes/No responses were analyzed using frequency count of chi-square statistic. Based on the findings of the study recommendations were made that: awareness must be created about the causes, effects and solution to ozone depletion; that regulation should be made to monitor how ozone depleting substances are emitted into the environment; that training of refrigerator and air conditioning service technicians in good practices and that the human activities should be checked promptly by those in the position of environmental authorities.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title page i
Table of contents vii
1.1 Background of the study 1
1.2 Statement of the problem 5
1.3 Purpose of the study 6
1.4 Research questions 6
1.5 Research hypothesis 7
1.6 Significance of the study 7
1.7 Limitation of the study 8
1.8 Definition of terms 8
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
- Concept of ozone and ozone layer 12
- Historical background of ozone depletion discovery 14
- International action on ozone depletion 18
- Causes of ozone depletion 21
- The main ozone- depleting substances (ODS)24
- Possible effects of ozone depletion 27
2.7 United Nations involvement in controlling ozone layer depletion 33
3.1 Research design 38
3.2 Population and sample 38
3.3 Instrumentation 39
3.4 Validity of instrument 40
3.5 Method of data collection 40
3.6 Data analysis 40
4.0 Introduction 42
4.1 Presentation of data 42
4.2 Discussion 46
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
5.0 Introduction 51
5.1 Summary 51
5.2 Conclusion 53
5.3 Recommendation 54
5.4 Limitation to the study 55
5.5 Suggestion for further study 55
Appendix I Questionnaire 59
Appendix II 61
Appendix III 62
Appendix IV 64
Appendix V 66
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Ozone is a colourless gas found in the upper atmosphere of the earth. It is formed when oxygen molecules absorbs ultraviolet protons and undergo a chemical reaction known as gothic (Thomas, 1987). In this process, a single molecule of oxygen breaks down into two oxygen atoms. The free oxygen atom (0), then combines with an oxygen molecule (02) and forms a molecule of ozone (03). The ozone molecules inturn absorb ultraviolet rays thereby prevent these harmful radiations from entering the earth’s atmosphere. The process of absorption of harmful radiation occurs when ozone molecules split up into a molecule of oxygen, and an oxygen atom. The oxygen atom (0) again combines with the oxygen molecule (02) to regenerate an ozone (03) molecule. Thus, the total amount of ozone is maintained by this continuous process of destruction and regeneration.
McCuen (2001) stated that the planet earth has its own natural sunscreen that shields us from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet radiation. It is called the ozone layer – a fragile band of gases beginning 15km above our planet and reaching up to the 40km level. The human activities have caused a substantial thinning of this protective covering not only over the North and South poles but right over our head.
The ultraviolet radiations (UVR), are high energy electromagnet waves emitted from the sun. UV radiation includes UV-A, the least dangerous form UV radiation, UV – B, which is the most dangerous. UV-C is unable to reach the earth’s surface due to stratospheric ozone’s ability to absorb it. The real threat comes from UV-B, which can enter the earth’s atmosphere and has adverse effects.
The ozone layer depletion first captured the attention of the whole world in the latter half of 1970, and since then a lot of research has been done to find its possible effects and causes. It was however revealed that a combination of low temperature, elevated chlorine and bromine concentrations in the upper stratosphere are responsible for the destruction of ozone. The production and emission of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), is the leading cause of ozone layer depletion. Other ozone depleting substances (ODS), include hydrochlorofluorocarbons(HCHCs), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are often found in vehicle emissions, by products of industrial processes, refrigerants and aerosols. ODS are relatively stable in the lower atmosphere of the earth, but in the stratosphere, they are exposed to ultraviolet radiation and thus they break down to release a free chlorine atoms. This free chlorine atom reacts with an ozone molecule (03) and form chlorine monoxide (ClO), and a molecule of oxygen. Now, ClO reacts with an ozone molecule to form a chlorine atom and two molecules of oxygen. The free chlorine molecule again reacts with ozone to form chlorine monoxide – the process continues and results in the depletion of the ozone layer.
The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA (2000) states that as ozone depletes in the stratosphere, it forms a “hole” in the layer. This hole enables harmful ultraviolet rays to enter the earth’s atmosphere. Ultraviolet rays of the sun are associated with a number of health-related and environment issues on humans and other animals, plants and the ecosystem generally. It is in the light of the above, that the researcher aimed at investigating the causes and effects of ozone depletion to human and possible remediation to control and limit the destruction of ozone layer.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
This research work aimed at investigating the causes and effects of ozone depletion to human health, other animals and the ecosystem generally. Scientific evidence indicates that stratospheric ozone is being destroyed by a group of manufactured chemicals, containing chlorine and/or bromine which demolish ozone at an alarming rate by stripping an atom from ozone molecule which invariably may result to global warming. Hence, this research study focuses on the relative impact of ozone depletion on human and its ecosystem.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main specific objectives of this study will focus on the following:
- to examine the concept of ozone layer
- to find out the causes of ozone depletion
- to investigate the effects of ozone depletion on humans
- to determine possible solution/control of ozone depletion
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In order to achieve the objectives of this study, attempt would be made to achieve the following questions:
- What are the main causes of ozone depletion?
- Does ozone depletion has any effects on human?
- Does human activities contribute to depletion of ozone layer?
- Are there ways through which ozone layer depletion can be control in human
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
- There will be no significant relationship between emission of ultraviolet radiation and depletion of ozone layer.
- There will be no significant relationship between depletion of ozone layer and the effect on human beings.
- There will be no significant relationship between depletion of ozone layer and human activities.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The importance of the study is to reduce misconception and misunderstanding about the causes and effects of ozone layer depletion on human and the ecosystem. This study will enlighten individuals on the causes and effects of ozone depletion.
The study shall also suggest ways of controlling the depletion and also serves as reference purposes for further study. The rationale behinds this research study is to educate the general public on the causes, effects and how ozone layer depletion can be controlled.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Since the research investigation is to the causes and effects of ozone depletion on human health and the ecosystem, the study shall be limited to this research work due to time factors and financial constrains.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
- Ozone: Ozone is a colourless gas which is a form of oxygen. It is a triatomic form of oxygen (O3) found in the Earth’s atmosphere.
- Ozone Layer: This is a protective layer of ozone high above the earth’s surface.
- ODS: These are ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, methylbromide, methylchloroform, and halons.
- UVR: Ultraviolet radiation, are high energy electromagnetic waves emitted from the sun.
- Ozone depletion: This is the destruction of the protective layer (ozone layer) by the ODS
- CFCs: Chlorofluorocarbons, the most dangerous ODS with high concentrations responsible for the destruction of ozone.
- Montreal Protocol: An international agreements accepted to see to the reduction and control industrial emission of CFCS.
- WMO: World Meterological Organization, an environmental organization that see to how ODS are managed.
- UNEP: United Nations Environment Program, a united nations environmental body.
- UV-B: Ultraviolet radiation – B, which is the most dangerous electro magnetic waves emitted from the sun
Full meaning of some environmental agencies acronyms used:
- WMO: World Meteorological Organization
- EHEAP: Environmental and Health Effects Assessment Panel
- NOAA: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations
- FAA: Federal Aviation Administration
- EPA: Environmental Protection Agency
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