Oxygen is life – Ways to Increase Atmospheric Oxygen


Oxygen is an essential part of our lives. One of the major gases in the atmosphere, oxygen accounts for 21% of the atmosphere. The other gases are carbon-dioxide, nitrogen, argon and others. There was a time when the earth’s atmosphere did not contain any oxygen. It was the great oxygenation event or GEO, which happened about 2.4 billion years ago that drastically, increased the level of oxygen in the atmosphere. Oxygen which was being produced by cyanobacteria started to get retained in the atmosphere, and thus gradually the level of oxygen went up.

This all happened a billion years ago, but now the situation has changed. In today’s world, plants and algae are the only source of oxygen that we have. Through a process of photosynthesis, plants take in carbon-dioxide and release oxygen in the air. Human beings or animals cannot survive without oxygen, we need it for breathing. All living organisms are dependent on trees for oxygen.

As years are passing, scientists can detect a fall in the level of atmospheric oxygen. Thanks to the burning of fossil fuel and a rise in pollution, smog layers are enveloping the skies. Excessive Use of petroleum and gasoline has disturbed the level of oxygen in the atmosphere. Cutting down trees is another major reason for the decreasing levels of oxygen. All this is rapidly leading to global warming.  Cooking fires, industrial pollution and auto fumes have resulted in many deaths and diseases like lung cancer and heart problems.

Here are a few major causes of the depletion of atmospheric oxygen-

  • Cutting and felling trees- with the population of the world on the rise, forest areas are being cleared to make room for human settlements. Hundreds of trees are being cut down every day to create space for humans to live. Trees are also being cut down for fire wood and to make paper.
  • Burning of oil and fossil fuel-since the industrial age, the levels of carbon dioxide have started to go up. As carbon dioxide increases, oxygen decreases. Fossil fuel emissions are a major cause for depletion of oxygen from the atmosphere.
  • Fuels like gasoline that are required to run our cars also emit carbon dioxide. This automatically is increasing the level of carbon dioxide and thus decreasing oxygen.


If we think about it, trees are there to absorb the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn it into oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. But the amount of carbon dioxide that is being emitted everyday is exceeding the limit to which plants can absorb it. The fact that plants are getting fewer in number is certainly not helping. The excess carbon dioxide thus lingers in the atmosphere. This balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has completely been disrupted and man alone can be blamed for it.

If oxygen is not restored to its original ratio, very soon life would cease to exist on earth. There are certain ways by which oxygen can be increased in the atmosphere as well as in our body. If the following steps are implemented then oxygen can be restored in the atmosphere.

  • Pollution is the major reason why oxygen is depleting so fast. The gases emitted from our vehicles form a thick smog layer that can cause severe breathing problems and other health issues. The ozone layer is gradually getting thinner and will one day cease to exist. The solution here is to stop using fossil fuels and oil, especially petroleum. Instead of using cars all the time, switch to bicycles that don’t harm the environment. Solar powered cars are another alternative. Solar energy can be used as much as possible to prevent the use of fossil fuel. Instead of relying on the machines all the time, things can be done manually sometimes.
  • Planting trees is a wonderful way of supplying oxygen in the atmosphere and make the earth green again. Try to plant trees in your neighbourhood or your locality. Ask your friends or relatives to join you. Gather as much people as you can and start planting trees in parks, schools, gardens. Try to make a small garden in your home. This way, you can stay healthy by breathing the fresh air in your garden.
  • Stop the cutting of trees to save your environment. Felling of trees has to be stopped immediately to retain the balance of the environment.
  • Start living healthy. Not only does the environment need oxygen, your body needs it too. Start doing yoga or exercises to improve blood circulation in the body. Try deep breathing exercises to inhale adequate oxygen. Try taking a walk in a park and breathe in the fresh air. Include green, leafy vegetables in your diet that provide a natural supply of oxygen.

These are some basic steps that can go a long way in regaining the lost oxygen in the atmosphere. Although not an immediate concern, the loss of oxygen would pose a serious threat to life in years to come. Oxygen enriches life. It is pure and natural. Taking individual steps to balance the level of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the air, however small can make a huge change in the environment. Start thinking about the environment and make a change today.


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