World Ozone Day

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September 16 is observed as International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. The ozone layer or ozone shield is a region of Earth’s stratosphere that absorbs most of the Sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It contains high concentrations of ozone in relation to other parts of the atmosphere, although still small in relation to other gases in the stratosphere.

This layer in the stratosphere contains relatively high concentration of ozone. The earth’s atmosphere divided into several layers has each layer playing a role. The first region extends to about 10km up from the earth’s surface and is called the troposphere. Ozone depletion occurs when chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons or gases formerly found in aerosol spray cans and refrigerants get released into the atmosphere. CFCs and halons cause chemical reactions breaking down ozone molecules to reduce ozone’s ultraviolet radiation-absorbing capacity.

It is very essential to keep a control on fossil fuels that cause huge amounts of damage to the ozone layer which is depleting quickly. The ozone layer gets depleted by chemicals and air pollution caused by human activities. This is why September 16th is marked out since 1987 after the Montreal Protocol as World Ozone Day. A number of special events such as talks and seminars are held on this day. World Ozone Day is officially been celebrated since 1994 after being established by United Nations General Assembly. The day is mainly intended to spread awareness of the depletion of the Ozone Layer and search for solutions to preserve it.

People from all over the world are made aware of the need to protect the ozone layer. Talks and seminars are held widely by academics and concerned agencies. Celebrated all around the world schools and colleges have educators setting aside the day to instruct students about the Ozone layer. Many educational institutions organize special events and activities to raise awareness on the need to conserve the ozone layer.

September 16 is the designated day as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. This designation had been made on December 19, 1995, in commemoration of the date, in 1987, on which nations signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The closure of the hole in the ozone layer was observed 30 years after the protocol was signed. Due to the nature of the gases responsible for ozone depletion their chemical effects are expected to continue for between 50 to 100 years.

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. The phase out of controlled uses of ozone depleting substances and the related reductions have not only helped protect the ozone layer for this and future generations, but have also contributed significantly to global efforts to address climate change. Also it has protected human health and ecosystems by limiting the harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the earth.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol. As part of the anniversary celebrations, the Ozone Secretariat has launched a communication campaign ahead of World Ozone Day. The #OzoneHeroes campaign launched on 14 September will seek to celebrate the major accomplishments of the Montreal Protocol in protecting the ozone layer and the climate, to increase public recognition of the success and impact of the Protocol.

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16 September – International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

Save the Stratosphere

“Ozone Layer Protection: The Mission Goes On”

Theme – Ozone Layer Protection: The Mission Goes On

The UN sponsored International Day for Preservation of Ozone Layer is celebrated each year on September 16, to commemorate the date of signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1987. The day was proclaimed as such by the resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994. Building up public awareness through concerted publicity, all affiliated agencies celebrate the event by intensifying efforts to continue protecting the earth’s ozone layer.

Many schools and scientific institutes organize activities that focus on topics related to the ozone layer, climate change and ozone depletion. One can retrieve information and educational packages from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) site that caters to specifically tailored topics about the earth’s ozone layer. Other activities for the day include promotion of ozone friendly products and other special programs for saving the ozone layer.

So what exactly is ozone depletion? In simplest terms it is the wearing out or reduction of the amount of ozone in the stratosphere. Ozone depletion is pinned down to one major human activity. Industries that manufacture things like insulating foams, solvents, soaps, cooling things like Air Conditioners, Refrigerators and ‘Take-Away’ containers use something called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

CFCs are substances that are heavier than air but over time, from two to five years, they get carried high into the stratosphere by wind action. Depletion begins when CFC’s get into the stratosphere. Ultra violet radiation from the sun breaks up these CFCs. The breaking up action releases Chlorine atoms which then react with Ozone to start a chemical cycle that destroys the good ozone in that area. One chlorine atom can break apart more than 100,000 ozone molecules.

The good news is that the earth’s protective ozone layer is well on its way to recovery. This has mainly happened due to concerted international action against ozone depleting substances.  The document entitled ‘Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion 2014’ published by UNEP and WMO is a comprehensive update on the situation. The stratospheric ozone layer which is like a fragile shield of gas protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun.

The Montreal Protocol worked at reducing the atmospheric levels of ozone depleting substances. The awareness generated by environmental agencies throughout the world prevented the increase in health issues like skin cancer, damage to human eyes and immune systems and protected wildlife and agriculture as per UNEP. The world acted responsibly with manufacturing needs so as not to introduce more CFCs into the air.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Ozone Layer Protection: The Mission Goes On”.  So far we have been successful in meeting some of the targets on phasing out ozone-depleting substances. This resulted in decline of the abundance of ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere and the ozone layer is expected to recover around the middle of this century. Even so there remain some challenges to the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances. The theme therefore seeks to keep stakeholders energized on efforts to address the challenges.

Ozone depletion happens due to human activity of releasing CFCs

Montreal Protocol Reduced the Gaping Ozone Hole