Is Ozone a Pollutant?

The simple answer to this question is yes and no.

Ozone is a pollutant when it is found in the Troposphere (also known as ground-level ozone). Surface level ozone is also the third most potent greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide and methane.

On the other hand, Ozone acts as a shield in the Stratosphere where it protects us from harmful Ultra violet radiations of the Sun.

How is Bad Ozone formed?

The Ozone found in the Troposphere is known by different names such as Bad Ozone, Ground Level Ozone, etc. It is man-made ozone found near the surface of the earth (Troposphere).

Bad Ozone is formed during high-temperature conditions of late spring, summer, and early fall, when high levels of ozone are usually formed in the heat of the afternoon and early evening, dissipating during the cooler nights.

The released gases such as nitrogen oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), and volatile organic compounds (VOC) combine chemically with oxygen to form ozone during sunny days near the surface of the earth.

NOx, CO, and VOCs are known as ozone precursors as they combine with oxygen to form ozone.

This bad ozone combines with Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 to form smog.

Effects of Bad Ozone

Being harmful and a greenhouse gas, Bad Ozone has many ill effects on the environment as well as to the human health.

1. Higher rates of pulmonary (related to lungs) disease.
2. Irritation to the skin and the respiratory system
3. Sufficient ozone, when enters the leaves of a sensitive plant, can reduce photosynthesis and slow the plant growth.
4. Damages some types of materials, especially objects made of rubber.
5. As a potent greenhouse gas, it is largely responsible for the warming of the surface of the earth.

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