LAHORE: Oxygen is perceived as one of the life-supporting components of air. It is an unsaturated diatomic molecule and a highly reactive non-metallic element. We, humans, cannot imagine life without oxygen. This is because the fundamental act that keeps us alive is breathing. Oxygen is inhaled into the lungs and then distributed to the rest of the body via the blood circulatory system. An average human being consumes approximately 11,000 liters of air and 550 liters of pure oxygen.
It is believed that oxygen is always present in the atmosphere. It began to accumulate about 2.5 billion years ago through a biological phenomenon called ‘The Great Oxygenation Event’. Unfortunately, over a course of these 2.5 billion years, scientists have noticed that oxygen levels have been showing a gradual global downward trend despite the fact that it is the 3rd most abundant element found on earth.
The reason for this is global warming. As the environment around us starts to alter, the composition of air starts to get more and more toxic reducing the amount of oxygen in it. As trees and forests become increasingly scarce in the near future, the problem will start escalating to such an extent that it will be impossible to breathe without support. In such a dystopian world, man might resort to external means of self-producing oxygen which would be sold in gas cylinders to people across the world.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2020.
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