What is ozone and why do we celebrate ozone day today ?
Just as humans need sunblock, the Earth needs protection too. Earth’s sunscreen is called ozone. The ozone that protects us, and all life on Earth, from the Sun’s harmful UV radiation is high in the atmosphere, in the stratosphere.
But there is also ozone closer to Earth in the troposphere and that is harmful to the health of people, plants and animals.
Decades ago scientists discovered that the Earth’s “good” ozone layer was thinning. It was being depleted by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). But the international community came together with an agreement to vastly curtail the use CFCs. The UN General Assembly proclaimed September 16 the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, commemorating the date of the signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Caring for All Life under the Sun.” And This year marks 30th anniversary of Montreal Protocol.
The Montreal Protocol has so far been successful in meeting some of its targets, as a result, the abundance of ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere is declining and the ozone layer is expected to recover around the middle of this century 1.
- Countries that ratify the Kigali Amendment commit to cut the production and consumption of powerful greenhouse gases “hydrofluorocarbons” by more than 80 percent over the next 30 years.
- Reducing (HFCs) under the Kigali Amendment is expected to avoid up to 0.5° Celsius warming by the end of the century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer.2
- Buy air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment that do not use HCFCs as refrigerant.
- Buy aerosol products that do not use HCFCs or CFCs as propellants.
- Conduct regular inspection and maintenance of air-conditioning and refrigeration appliances to prevent and minimize refrigerant leakage.
- For existing air-conditioning and refrigeration appliances that operate on HCFCs or CFCs, the refrigerant should be recovered or recycled whenever an overhaul of equipment is to be carried out. Replacing or retrofitting such equipment to operate on non-HCFCs refrigerant should also be considered.
- When motor vehicle air-conditioners need servicing, make sure that the refrigerants are properly recovered and recycled instead of being vented to the atmosphere. 3
This is 30th anniversary of Montreal Protocol. Unprecedented global collaboration and collective action by maximum countries to save our Ozone layer is a positive sign but the real success rests with local implementation and behavioural changes among masses. Let us start caring for Ozone by listening to science, for our future generations, because we are all Ozone heroes..!
Content source : 1. NASA ; 2. UNEP ; 3. Environment Protection department, Government of Hong Kong ; 4. UNDP
Featured Image source : UNEP