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Dramatic Effect Of Gas Pollution On The Environment.

946 words - 4 pages

DRAMATIC EFFECT OF GAS POLLUTIONON THE ENVIRONMENTOur planet can be considered globally as a living organism in which each single part interacts with the others in an extremely delicate way. Human activities, which often alter this equilibrium, lead to a homeostatic reaction that tends to re-establish the loss (or missing) equilibrium by eliminating all the perturbant elements. Actually, Earth's atmosphere has never been unchangeable: its composition, temperature and auto-depuration ability have continuously fluctuated since the planet's formation. Nevertheless, the speed of such changes has increased, particularly in the last two centuries: the atmosphere's composition has mutated much faster than in any other period of human history. This has created a huge degenerative environmental problem that has preoccupied scientists for decades, since it concerns the entire biosphere. This climatic change, potentially caused by an ever-increasing hole in the ozone layer, is known as the greenhouse effect.The greenhouse effect is caused by certain gases present in the atmospheric compound that absorb infrared radiation and are emitted by sun-heated surfaces of the Earth and redirected downward. One of the gases most responsible for this phenomenon is carbon dioxide, "released to the atmosphere when solid waste, fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal), and wood and wood products are burned" (1). Although many other gases present in the atmosphere in inferior amounts also contribute, including: methane, nitrogen oxide, ozone and several chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs: compounds that contain chlorine, fluorine, carbon and rarely hydrogen). In addition, these chemical compounds (also known as Freons) yield to another atmospheric phenomenon called the hole in the ozone layer. CFCs, in particular, were produced in large amounts during the 1920's and, since then, have been utilized as refrigerant for freezer alimentation and air conditioning devices. These inert gases do not degrade easily within the troposphere layer, the lower atmospheric level, and thus tend to reach the higher band, the ozone layer. This spherical envelope, just after the stratosphere's lower limit, constitutes the Earth's protective shield against ultraviolet radiation by preventing high energetic rays from reaching the Earth's surface. Ultraviolet radiation is powerful enough to demolish important biologic molecules, such as DNA, and if insufficiently filtered, can increase incidence of skin tumors, cataracts and immune system deficiency. In the last few decades, forecast researchers noticed that the ozone strata above the arctic areas during spring were diminished by about 40%: a "hole" was widening in the stratospheric layer. Considering the importance of such ultraviolet penetration effects, scientists focused on discovering the cause of this layer depletion that grows every austral spring in the inner side of the South Pole vortex. Unfortunately, the cause was, once more, identified as...

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