Celebrating Green Cleaning
Today, Monday September 16th is the annual day of international celebration for the preservation of the ozone layer. It’s always good to take a quick refresher course on what this stratospheric layer is and how it affects us down here on our terrestrial trappings.
Why is the ozone layer important?
According to the EPA.Gov’s Frequently Asked Questions page regarding the ozone layer, “stratospheric ozone is a naturally occurring gas that filters the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. A diminished ozone layer allows more UV radiation to reach the Earth’s surface. For people, overexposure to UV rays can lead to skin cancer, cataracts, and weakened immune systems. Increased UV can also lead to reduced crop yield and disruptions in the marine food chain.
Ok, so what is the story with this ozone “hole?”
From a great article in National Geographic: Scientists had theorized since the 1970s about the chemistry that could lead to ozone depletion. But in May 1985 scientists with the British Antarctic Survey shocked the world when they announced the discovery of a huge hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica.Scientists had theorized since the 1970s about the chemistry that could lead to ozone depletion. But in May 1985 scientists with the British Antarctic Survey shocked the world when they announced the discovery of a huge hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica.
Technically a substantial thinning of the ozone layer, the ozone “hole” has been opening every spring since the 1970s, the scientists reported.
Their data, collected at the Halley Research Station in Antarctica, suggested that CFCs were to blame. That’s because atmospheric conditions during the cold, dark, Antarctic winters were building stockpiles of CFCs over the South Pole.
Returning spring sunshine would then spawn an abundance of free chlorine, depleting ozone levels above Antarctica by as much as 65 percent.
“One lesson is that the planet can change very rapidly in an unexpected way,” said Jonathan Shanklin, one of the British scientists who made the ozone hole discovery and co-author of a paper on the ozone hole anniversary.
“Nobody was expecting to see anything like this in the Antarctic.”
So what’s this “international environmental policy” success story we’ve all heard about?
From that same great article in National Geographic: The disturbing discovery [of the ozone hole] set the stage for an environmental triumph: the Montreal Protocol of 1987.
This pact to phase out the use of CFCs and restore the ozone layer was eventually signed by every country in the United Nations—the first UN treaty to achieve universal ratification.
The unparalleled cooperation has had a major impact.
“If we had just kept letting CFCs increase at a pretty nominal rate, characteristic of the 1970s, the decreased ozone levels of the hole would have eventually covered the entire planet,” said atmospheric physicist Paul Newman of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
“Global ozone dropped a little bit [after CFCs were banned], but the good news is that if we had done nothing, it would have gotten really, really bad.”
Now a complete rebound seems imminent. Some scientists project that by 2080 global ozone will return to 1950s levels.
And why does World Class Cleaning Services care so much?
We believe that the health of our clients and our staff should not be a trade-off for a clean home environment. We only use environmentally safe, non-animal tested, healthy products and methods to clean each home. And, by extension, the green cleaning products we’re using to keep your home clean are also not your conventional, chemical-laden house cleaning products like those making dents in that very ozone hole we mentioned above. So let’s celebrate! Cheers to a cleaner, greener home; and cheers to a healthier, happier planet!
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