The nineteenth century and the earlier half of the twentieth century was a time of relative innocence (some would say ignorance) of how industrial processes would be affecting the environment we live in. People thought that the atmosphere, oceans, and rainforests of the world were limitless and unchanging. It is only during the 1960s and thereafter that serious inquiry into the effects of human activity on the ecology was conducted.
Ozone is a molecule comprised of three atoms of oxygen, rather than the usual 2 atoms. It therefore has the symbol O3. The word “ozone” comes from the Greek word “ozein” meaning “smell”, because of its pungent odour. It was discovered in 1839 by Christian Friedrich Schönbein, when he detected a by-product of electrical discharges. It was only in the early twentieth century, however, when ozone was determined to be found in large quantities in the stratosphere (Reid, 2000).
Most popular literature deal with the ozone hole, located over the Antarctic in the stratospheric level. This indicates a thinning of ozone in the place where it does the most good. It became so depleted in certain areas as a reaction to the pollutants released in the air by industrial processes, and in the household by the use of chlorofluorocarbons and other chemical products. Very few, however, know that ozone has been accumulating in a layer closer to the ground than the stratosphere, namely the troposphere. Closer to the earth, ozone is a poisonous substance and where it would touch the earth, it may cause deaths and damage to the lungs.
The first relationship depicted above shows the formation of the ozone layer in the stratosphere, its proper location for greatest benefit. The ozone has varying effects on different types of ultraviolet radiation. UV-C, the ultraviolet ray with the shortest wavelength is the type most effectively screened, while UV-A, which has the longest wavelength, is that which passes straight through