World Ozone Day
On the 16th of September, will be “World Ozone Day.” This International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer has been celebrated since 1994 as established by the United Nations General Assembly. This year’s theme is “Ozone Layer Protection: The Mission Goes On.”
When the world finally unite to curb the damage on the Ozone Layer and to stop a major environmental catastrophe, the stars too must have aligned when the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed in 1987.
The ozone layer is a delicate shield of gas that serves as a protective covering to preserve life in our planet, Earth from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. It is made up of oxygen and is naturally present in the atmosphere. The depletion of ozone means the ozone layer will become thinner.
From Whole to Hole…….
It was in the 70s when scientists discovered a gaping hole in the thin layer of the earth’s atmosphere. This alarming phenomenon emerged when a significant thinning of the ozone layer began to appear above the Antartic and the primary cause was linked to the ozone-depleting substances (ODS) that includes chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Hydrochlorofluorocarbns (HCFCs), halons, methyl bromide, carbon tetrachloride, and methyl chloroform. These chemicals are found in aerosol cans and also commonly used as coolants for refrigerators, cars and centralized airconditioning, fire extinguishers, etc.
With the marked increase in the emission of these harmful gases into the atmosphere, the ozone hole got bigger and the threats of the sun’s harmful rays directly hitting the earth would have serious impacts to human health such as skin cancer cataracts and blindness, immunosuppression or weakening of the human immune system. Plants, animals and the ecosystem will also not be spared by the UV. The negative effects on plants growth, lower yields from major crops, plant diseases, while animals may also suffer from eye and skin cancers, growth and development problems as well as the decrease in planktons that can disrupt the fresh and saltwater food chain and the eventual loss of biodiversity in the ecosystem.
The good news is………
The phasing out of ozone-depleting substances and the reduction of related products have contributed significantly in the global campaign to address the depletion and damage in the ozone layer.
The ozone layer is now beginning to heal. Though the process has been in place for some years, this time the ozone layer was fund to be repairing itself naturally. And according to the latest UN assessment and by some 300 scientists, the ozone layer will hopefully recover by 2050, similar to its state in the 80’s. And to achieve that, the world has to strive to continue and improve more of its efforts to address the challenges that we face to curb the man-made activities and products that do more harm than good to the environment.
The Montreal Protocol has proven to be an effective model for how nations around the globe can work hand in hand together in saving the world from a global environmental catastrophe.t
So lets make ourselves and others aware about the significance of world ozone day.
You can also share your experience/suggestion pertaining to this day below.