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Ozone depletion

Ozone depletion is a quite different problem from global warming or climate change.

In 1980, it was found that the ozone layer above the Antarctic was thinner than ever before. It became known as "the hole" in the ozone layer.

A thinner ozone layer meant that ultra violet raadiation could get from the sun to earth more easily. This may damage people and plants. UNEP figures indicate that a 1% decrease in world ozone would increase skin cancers world-wide by 6%.

People in Australia and South America are particularly worried, although people in the Northern Europe are now showing concerns. Many developing countries do not consider it such a major issue.

The chemicals that cause climate change are generally different from those that cause ozone depletion.

The main 'ozone depleters' are Chlorofluorocarbons which are very stable, easily evaporate and get up into the stratosphere.

flow chart image showing CFCs attacking the ozone layer

There they attack the ozone, so letting the ultraviolet in. CFCs are used in all sorts of places, in refrigerators, as solvents, to propel materials from aerosol cans, and to create foams for creams, and were thought to be "miracle" chemical

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