What is Ozone hole?

There is a thin layer of ozone that circles the earth at a height of 15-50 km. Its protective presence shields life by absorbing the high energy ultraviolet radiation of the sun. In 1987, a thinning of this layer was first observed over Antarctica. This was referred to as the ‘ozone hole’.

The hole is formed by the destruction of ozone molecules by certain man-made substances that liberate chlorine atoms when exposed to ultraviolet radiation in the stratosphere. The chlorine atoms then react with ozone molecules breaking them up. In recent years the ozone hole has been reported over the Arctic as well. Of the many chemicals blamed for causing the ozone hole, the chlorofluorocarbons, widely used by the refrigeration industry have been held primarily responsible.