Viewpoint – New EPA project aims to improve ozone levels

By Raegan Scharfetter/managing editor

The Environmental Protection Agency has recently announced projects in 14 states, one of them detecting and identifying the source of exceeding ozone levels in Texas.

The ozone layer is a belt of the naturally occurring gas “ozone,” and it is between 9.3 and 18.6 miles above Earth. It serves as a shield from ultraviolet B radiation.

Ozone levels in several areas of Texas are continuing to exceed current EPA air quality standards. This project will use a new combination of advanced emission detection technologies that can identify and better manage the air quality in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the ozone forecast season for Dallas-Fort Worth began March 1 and will end on Oct. 31, so people may hear or see warnings to stay inside on certain days depending on the ozone level.

Worldwide concerns have developed since the ozone layer deteriorated due to pollution and rightfully so. It allows for an abundance of UVB radiation to reach the earth. This can cause a multitude of problems such as skin cancer, cataracts, acid rain and the list goes on and on.

Although this seems frightening, especially having a president who thinks climate change is a “hoax,” it is now getting progressively better.

The average area of the ozone hole observed since 1991 has been roughly 10 million square miles. In 2015, the ozone hole grew to 10.9 million square miles and has gone down approximately 2 million square miles now in 2017.

Humans are the leading source of pollution, and it should never have been or be justified to pollute the earth we live on and share with other animals. We must continue to decrease pollution in any way, shape or form by conserving energy (turning off lights and electric appliances), limit driving and idling, and even only run dish and clothes washers only when full.

Small steps lead to a bigger reward, and we should constantly remind ourselves of this. We are preparing our planet for the future generations to come. However, there will be little to salvage of our planet if we do not respect it and treat it right.