OZONE DAY – 32 years and Healing

- By Jidnyasa Ghag

16TH September each year is identified as international day for preservation of ozone layer. The ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the rays of the sun, thus helping preserve life on the planet. Aim of this day is to create awareness to phase-out ozone depleting substances which damage ozone layer too. This year theme for ozone day is "32 years and healing" celebrates completion of three decades with ratified Montreal protocol.

Why Ozone day?

On December 19, 1994, the UN General Assembly proclaimed September 16 to be the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, commemorating the date when the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed in 1987. The day was first celebrated on September 16, 1995.

When was the ozone hole discovered?

The discovery of the annual depletion of ozone above the Antarctic was first announced in a paper by Joe Farman, Brian Gardiner and Jonathan Shanklin which appeared in Nature in May 1985. Later, NASA scientists re-analyzed their satellite data and found that the whole of the Antarctic was affected.

Ozone treaty

The scientific confirmation of the depletion of the ozone layer prompted the international community to establish a mechanism for cooperation to take action to protect the ozone layer.

Vienna Convention

On 22nd March 1985, treaty was signed and adopted by 28 countries protect against ozone depletion. Drafting on Montreal Protocol on September 1987.

Montreal Protocol

The principal aim of the Montreal Protocol is to protect the ozone layer by taking measures to control total global production and consumption of substances that deplete it, with the ultimate objective of their elimination on the basis of developments in scientific knowledge and technological information. Attention focus on higher- causing ozone depleting substance and then on lower ozone- depletion potential.

Kigali Amendment

The Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer reached agreement at their 28th Meeting of the Parties on 15 October 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda to phase-down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Fig 1: - Ozone Hole Shrinking

What can we do?

Awareness is the first step to begin protecting our damaged ozone layer. There are many simple ways to save our ozone layer.

• Avoid the purchase and use of aerosol sprays containing chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

• Avoid the use of fire extinguishers with halogenated hydrocarbon, a substance being very aggressive to the ozone layer.

• Avoid buying insulating material made from CFC. Instead, you can use the dark chipboard cork that do not pollute the environment for the same purpose.

• Keep clean the air conditioning because if a malfunction occurs it emit CFCs in the atmosphere.

• Check the freezer and the car air-conditioning. If they malfunction, need repairing soon, because it may emit CFCs.

• Buy a refrigerator or air conditioner which is CFC-free.

• Buy energy saving gadgets and bulbs. You will reduce levels of pollution and money.

Ozone layer depletion is deep crisis which leads to increased UV-B radiation reaching the surface of the Earth affecting humans and all the living organisms. Anthropogenic activities are the main cause for ozone layer depletion leading to global climatic changes. This leads to a number of health problems like heat-related issues, skin cancer, and various other ecological disturbances that affect biotic life. Hence every individual should be well aware of the harmful effects of all the causing agents of ozone layer depletion like CFC, plastics, fossil fuel etc and should reduce and avoid using them. We all should pledge to make this world sustainable for everyone to live.