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PIA Press Release

Avoid ozone depletion, use alternative products, EMB warns

By Jonnie H. Buenaventura

Tacloban City (1 October) -- Ozone depletion and global warming are the prime concerns, nowadays among states or nations globally. Leaders of every nation propose some measures on how to lessen the cause and effect brought by the natural and man-made catastrophe today, tomorrow and in the future.

According to Engr. Reynaldo B. Barra, Chief Control Division, Environmental Management Bureau during the opening ceremony of the 18th National Statistics Month held recently at National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), ozone is a gas that is present in the atmosphere it is a molecule made up of three oxygen atoms while ozone layer is a thin, fragile shield that envelopes the entire earth which efficiently and effectively filters and screens almost all of the harmful ultraviolet rays, its chemical symbol is O3.

Engr. Barra further elaborated that ozone layer are created when "high energy" ultraviolet radiation strikes on oxygen molecule and causes it to split into two free oxygen atoms. The free oxygen atoms collide with molecules of oxygen to form ozone molecules. The ozone molecules are created and destroyed high above the surface of the earth, about 20 to 40 kilometers above ground, he said.

There are three categories of ultraviolet (UV) rays, UV-A are the one able to penetrate the earth surface, UV-B is 90% blocked off by the ozone layer and UB-C is 100% blocked off by the ozone layer. The depletion or the loss of the blocking effect of the ozone layer against ultraviolet rays is called ozone hole.

In the study conducted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration from 1988 to 2003, the largest ozone hole is the size of North America. It is found in Antarctica, the global ozone level throughout the stratosphere has also decreased by 3% every decade.

When ozone depletion allows the entry of UV-B its tremendous effects among human beings are skin cancers, cataracts, weakened immune system, reduce plant yields, damage to ocean eco-system and reduced fishing yields, damage to plastic and building materials.

There are ozone depleting substance that is hazardous to health and destroys the ozone such as chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and halons.

CFCs are used in refrigerators, air-conditions, spray cans, solvents, foams and other similar application. Halons are usually used in fire extinguisher.

Other ozone depleting substances are Carbon Tetracholride and Methycholoform which are used as solvents; Hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs) used in fire extinguisher and Hydrocholorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) were developed as the first CFC major replacement; Methybromide (CH3BR) used as fumigant in quarantine treatment; Bromochloromethane (BCM) used as fire extinguishing agent and solvent.

Engr. Barra cited some measures to save the ozone layer from its destruction. Consumers are advised not to patronize products which contain ozone depleting substance but rather use alternative product which do not use ozone depleting substance which contain CFC free and CFC 134a substance and patronized ozone-friendly services by having your car air-con, refrigerators and home air-con repaired at service shops with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) accredited, he said.

According to actor turned politician Governor Arnold Schwarszenegger addressing the effects of global warming before the heads of states " The time to act is now". (PIA-8) [top]

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