Ozone air pollution has negative impacts on both your health and the environment. There are steps you can take to help reduce ozone pollution to protect your health, but bigger efforts are needed to protect the environment. Education and activism are needed to help the atmosphere’s ozone layer, which will help the environment.
Much is said about the ozone level of the earth. Many experts talk about how the ozone level is decreasing in the atmosphere and this is why the earth is warming up and other environmental affects are being seen and felt. People do not know enough about ozone air pollution, though, and don’t even realize that there is a good and bad side to ozone. Learning more about this issue will help you to become a better steward of the earth so that your children, grandchildren, and other future generations can live on an earth that is healthy for them.
Good ozone is the stuff you hear a lot about in environmental discussions. It’s located miles above the earth’s surface and serves as a protective barrier against the sun’s UV rays. The good ozone is being depleted by manmade chemicals that are released into the atmosphere from a variety of sources. The ozone level is severely depleted in areas that include the North and South Poles. These areas have an “ozone hole” that is causing the Poles to warm up and melt, which causes problems worldwide.
Bad ozone is the ozone that is formed near the earth’s surface. It is created when pollutants emitted from cars, chemicals, power plants, and other sources react chemically with the sunlight. It then damages crops, trees, and other vegetation, as well as becoming a part of what is known as smog. Ozone air pollution is a large problem during the summer months when the sun’s rays are stronger and this increased level of ozone causes severe health effects for many people. Below, you will see how ozone can affect the environment and your health.
- Environmental Effects — Ozone air pollution has many different effects on the environment. It can reduce the size of an agricultural crop, as well as a tree crop by reducing the number of seedlings and making the crops more susceptible to disease and pests. In the United States, it has been estimated that ozone air pollution causes up to $500 million in crop damage each year. Another effect on the environment is on the leaves and foliage of trees and other plants. This damage is seen in parks and yards across the country.
- Health Effects — The number of health effects that ozone air pollution can cause is numerous. The most common way that ozone air pollution effects the body is in breathing. This is most evident in the summer, when the warm sun rays makes ozone pollution levels high and when people spend a great deal of time in the outdoors. The common symptoms that are seen include congestion, throat irritation, coughing, and even chest pain. If you have an underlying medical condition like asthma, then ozone air pollution can cause it to get worse significantly. Prolonged exposure to ozone air pollution can cause diminished lung capacity, lung inflammation, and scarring of the lung tissue.
As you can see, ozone air pollution is a big problem to both the environment and our health. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has enacted many regulations to help decrease ozone air pollution. They have also set standards to help residents know when it is safe to spend time outdoors. This has helped to decrease some of the health effects. By lowering the emissions from your vehicle by carpooling, using alternative fuels, and decreasing your car usage, you can help decrease some of the emissions that are involved in the chemical process of creating ozone air pollution. Decreasing your use of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) is another way you can decrease the creation of ozone. By learning more about the causes of ozone air pollution, you can become part of the key to helping decrease the amount of bad ozone in the air.