Environment: Ozone Depletion and River Ganges

Topics: Ozone depletion, Ozone, Ultraviolet Pages: 3 (946 words) Published: December 17, 2010
Effects of Human Activities on Environment

Climate Change 
Just about a year back, I came across an article in which environmentalists expressed their concerns that if the Gangotri glacier (that feeds river Ganges) kept melting at its current rate, the river Ganges would soon dry up. River Ganges is the holy river of India, which has served as a lifeline for centuries for millions of people on its banks. Rivers have played an important role in the survival of mankind, and many of them are fed by glaciers. Global warming refers to the increase in the temperatures of the earth due to release of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane from industries and vehicles. This phenomenon is causing the glaciers to melt at an alarming rate. Not just the Gangotri, but even the polar ice caps are melting at a faster rate than they can form. The result is increase in the sea level, and it poses a danger of drowning the low lying areas. Some of the areas that may go under the sea if the sea levels kept increasing include Bangladesh, parts of Africa and even major cities like London and New York!

Depletion of Ozone Layer
The stratosphere has a layer of ozone that protects us from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. Exposure to these layers cause skin cancer and cataracts. However, the ozone layer filters out the dangerous UV rays from sunlight as it enters the earth's atmosphere. The cholofluorocarbons (CFCs) that are man-made chemicals are released in the atmosphere through CFC containing aerosols, refrigeration equipment, foam and as by products of certain industrial processes. As these chemicals are released, they rise up into the atmosphere and break down the ozone molecules that form the ozone layer. There is an ozone hole in the Antarctic stratosphere that is causing great concern to environmentalists all over the world. Not only is the depleting ozone layer harmful to human beings, but the UV rays can destroy a certain type of bacteria known are...
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