Another consequence of atmospheric pollution consists in the progressive decrease of the ozone layer that is above 30 kilometers of altitude (ozonosphere) and which protects the Earth from dangerous ultraviolet radiation. The thinning of the ozone layer (a phenomenon commonly called “hole in the ozone layer”) increases the intensity on the ground of those radiations emitted by the Sun which become harmful to human health. Scientists believe that it is chlorofluorocarbons and nitrogen oxides that damage the ozone layer. The former are gods and gases used in refrigeration systems (refrigerators, air conditioners, spray cans), the latter are found in nature, but can also be produced by aircraft that burn fuel near the ozone layer. In 1987, thirty-five countries signed the Montrel Treaty which provided for the elimination, within fifteen years, of all CFC gases.
Today the situation has not improved, indeed some developing countries such as India and China emit CFC gas in increasing quantities.
The use of fossil fuels causes the emission of various gases which, although not greenhouse gases, have negative effects on the environment. In fact, typical by-products of thermoelectric power plants, of some industrial activities, of car engine exhausts and of domestic heating systems are sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. These gases, once they reach the atmosphere, react with the humidity of the air, giving rise to acid compounds that are carried to the ground by the rain. In addition to having negative effects on human health, the “acid rains” damage vegetation, buildings, monuments and poison the waters of lakes and rivers with serious consequences also on the fauna.
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