Zozon From The Ozone

@< field1 > @< field2 >, aged @< field3 >, lives in @< field4 >, @< field5 > and
has many friends. One day, while out playing with her friends, they talked about
the summer holidays. @< field1 > talked about swimming in the ocean, while @< field6 >
said they loved playing in the sand. “I don’t like sunbathing much,”
@< field1 > said, “but I get a tan anyway because I spend a lot of time in the sun.”

“You have to be very careful in the sun and use a lot of tanning cream to prevent
sunburn,” a voice nearby said. @< field1 > and her friends turned to see a little man,
wearing strange clothes and a tall hat, standing nearby. He introduced himself.
“My name is Zozone and I am here to help save the ozone layer.” @< field1 > was
puzzled, “What is the ozone layer?” she asked. “In the atmosphere, high above
the earth’s surface, there is a layer of gas called Ozone.” Zozone said.

@< field1 > was still confused, “Why have you come to save the ozone layer and what
has it to do with sunbathing?” she asked. Zozone smiled, “Everything” he said.
“The ozone layer protects all life on earth from the harmful ultraviolet (UV)
radiation given off by the sun. It works like a filter, absorbing and preventing
these dangerous rays from reaching earth and without it we would all be in great
danger,” Zozone said.

“Why is that?” @< field1 > wanted to know. Zozone eagerly explained, “UV rays cause
damage to our skin and eyes. If we are exposed to a lot of UV radiation, our
immune system weakens. That means that our bodies arenít strong enough to
fight different infectious diseases.” Zozone said. @< field1 >, @< field6 >
looked at each other. They were beginning to understand the importance of the
ozone layer.

Zozone went on, “UV rays can also destroy plants and ruin forests and crops.
They can damage farm products and cause harm to animals and fish. You see,
UV rays can also affect ocean life because they can reach a depth of 20 metres in clear water. In countries where people eat a lot of fish, a major source of food
will soon be lost!”

Zozone continued, “I also have to tell you that buildings, paints, packaging and
countless other substances could be damaged by UV rays. The cost of such
damage could run into billions each year!” @< field1 > was astonished, “Wow! Aren’t
we lucky we have the ozone layer to protect us from the dangerous rays of the
sun!” she exclaimed. Everyone agreed with her.

Zozone looked sad, “I’m really sorry to have to tell you this, but  hole has
developed in the ozone layer. This was caused by chemicals called
chlorofluorocarbons, CFCs for short, found in a range of products, from
refrigerators and air conditioners, to aerosol cans and fire extinguishers. CFCs
float upwards from the earthís surface, taking about 8 years to reach the ozone
layer, where a single CFC-molecule can destroy 100,000 molecules of ozone.”

“In early 1985, a hole was discovered over Antarctica and scientists observe
that it is getting bigger each year. At times this hole is as big as the United
States of America. Northern America, most of Europe, northern China, Japan and
even Australia, have lost as much as 6% of their protective ozone filter. So now
the harmful rays of the sun are able to reach Earth. We have to try to repair it.”

“Is anything being done to prevent this hole from becoming bigger?” @< field1 >
asked. “Well, governments of many countries have been working together to
reduce the use of CFCs. But, you have to remember, that even if all such
chemicals were banned tomorrow, we would still be seeing ozone destruction
throughout the next century because they have a long life and are already
travelling towards the ozone layer,” Zozone said.

@< field1 > was determined to make a difference. “We have to invent fridges and air
conditioners that don’t use dangerous gases and we must tell our parents,
relatives and friends to stop using CFCs and other substances harmful to the
ozone layer,” she said. Zozone agreed, saying, “Next time you go shopping with your
parents, remind them to buy only ozone friendly products. If we begin to take
care of the ozone layer today, it will protect us tomorrow.”