The Miracle of Ozone Curtain

(2-5 June World Environment Day)

In this century, the issue which occupies the whole world’s agenda is environmental problems. “The environment, is something trusted to mankind just after the soul blown into his lifeless body; what is more, the environment is a big man in a way, and the man is a big environment.”

It may be assumed that the first pollution started with the first fire lit. In the year 1869, the declaration of  the Massachusets Public Health Committee formed the first important scientific warning highlighting that the environmental concerns reached to threatening dimensions. In present day, environmental problems mostly arise from industrialization and unplanned urbanization due to that industrialization.

Cleanliness and unwastefulness are the fundamental  precautions to be taken to conserve the environment. In the tafseers of Holy Quran and in hadiths , cleanliness is highly stressed.. In that verse “Truly Allah loveth those who turn unto Him, and loveth those who have a care for cleanliness.”  (Baqarah 2/222) which tells about the people whom Allah loves are those who regret for their wrongdoings and turn to Him and those who are clean. Thus a moral cleanliness with penitence is stressed that other than bodily cleanliness..

Environmental problems are so wide ranging: Global warming, forest destruction, erosion, desertification, ozone layer depletion, contamination of lakes and rivers, accumulation of solid waste, air pollution in big cities, electromagnetic pollution, radioactive pollution, noise pollution etc. All those are of importance needing a special attention one by one. The most important environmental problems which our world is facing today are:
1- Global warming
2- Increasing ozone layer depletion.

Ozone layer which surround our world is a subject to be handled seriously. The layer which consists of atmosphere, oceans and the solid par -extending 17 km-  we live on is called “earth crust”. Oxygen is the most abundant element found in earth crust and by mass it is 49.5% in it. Oxygen is found in metal ores, in plants, animals and humans and also in atmosphere and water. In free state it usually exists in diatomic molecule, O2. The molecule consisted of three oxygen atoms is called ozone. Ozone is an allotrope of oxygen, thus having a different structure from it. If a certain amount of energy is given to diatomic oxygen molecules  triatomic ozone molecules are formed.

3 02 (g) +  68 Kcal  ®  2 03 (g)

While oxygen consist of the 20% of atmosphere by volume, and by mass it is 21%, the average ozone amount is 0.02% ppm by volume that is equal to 10 billionth of oxygen. Due to its higher oxidating effect with comparison to oxygen, high ozone concentration is very harmful to living beings. Ozone concentration, which is very low in low altitudes, increases until 30 km high, and in stratosphere it reaches a tenfold concentration which is 0.2% ppm. In altitudes higher than 30 km, ozone concentration decreases gradually and no ozone is found in altitudes higher than 80 km.

This high concentration of ozone in 30 km  altitudes is called “ozone layer” in atmosphere. The ozone layer acts just like a curtain protecting living beings from harmful effects of high energy sun radiation and therefore vital to human beings. It does that protection in this way: It filters the sun’s harmful UV rays and stops them reaching the surface of the Earth. Unless those UV rays are stopped by ozone layer in 99%, very critical consequences may arise in living-non living nature. The simplest of those consequences in humans is an increase of skin cancer. In long term, those high energy rays breaks the C – H  and  0 – H  bonds found in living organisms and it means the destruction of life!

In chemistry books related to the topic, there are chemical equations showing why ozone exists in 30 km high and why certain industrial chemicals decomposes and destroys ozone layer and also why this activity is centered in Polar Circles. Also measures to be taken are mentioned.

The most important aspect of this topic is that, it is totally impossible that those molecules by their own will and choice can lead to such consequences with so much mercy and wisdom: While this highly oxidating substance is deadly harmful to living beings in low altitudes, its existence in higher regions of atmosphere may be vital to all life on the Earth.

In chemistry books, the abundance of hydrogen in higher regions of atmosphere is explained owing to its little molecule weight (2g), but not a single word is mentioned about the miraculous formation of ozone layer in 30 km high! But the presumed fact should have been that due to being 24 times heavier (48g) than hydrogen, ozone to be found in the highest concentration nearest to the Earth’s surface.

We reach the conclusion without much effort which is that “ozone curtain” is truly a curtain in our mind’s eye. It should be a testing for us: A curtain hiding the naked truth of a protective hand and for us a curtain to be seen behind…

“Yes, dignity and grandeur demand that in the view of the mind causes are veils to the hand of power. While unity and oneness demand that causes abstain from having any real effect.”

(From the Risale-i Nur Collection, Eleventh Topic, The Fruits of Belief)

Prof. Dr. Mustafa Y. Nutku

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