An ecologist, Mr Abdullahi Aremu, on Monday,January 15, 2018 urged the media to sensitise Nigerians to the dangers of using refrigerators, air conditioning units which emit ozone-depleting substances like chlorofluorocarbons into the atmosphere.
Aremu, the Director-General, Advocacy for Environmental and Sanitation Integrity, an NGO, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
The ecologist advised Nigerians not to buy products that contained chlorofluorocarbons as, according to him, such devices released toxic chemicals which depleted the ozone layer.
He said that the depletion of the ozone layer was a global environmental challenge which posed serious dangers to the entire human community.
“Therefore, if you are out for shopping, don’t buy aerosol products containing chlorofluorocarbons.
“Check your fire extinguishers to ascertain if halon or halogenated hydrocarbon is the main ingredient.
“I am urging the people to dispose of their old air conditioning units and refrigerators that use chlorofluorocarbons to function, as these devices release toxic chemicals into the atmosphere,’’ he said.
Aremu described chlorofluorocarbons as one of the primary causes of the depletion of the ozone layer.
“Industrial products, including solvents, soaps, spray aerosols, insulating foams, ‘take-away’ containers and cooling utilities, such as refrigerators and air conditioners, also use chlorofluorocarbons.
“Over time, the toxic chemicals accumulate in the atmosphere and are carried by wind into the stratosphere,’’ he said.
He said that once chlorofluorocarbons were in the stratosphere, their molecules were broken up by the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun which released chlorine atoms.
He stressed that the chlorine atoms would react with the ozone, setting out a chemical cycle that destroyed the ozone layer.
“Depletion of ozone layer does not affect a region or a country; the whole world is vulnerable to it.
“The increase in the levels of ultraviolet rays lead to the high incidence of skin cancer and eye-related problems,’’ he said.
Aremu also said that fertilisers and pesticides produced nitrous oxide, which also contributed to the depletion of the ozone layer.
By Deji Abdulwahab