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.
September 16 is celebrated as World Ozone Day across the world to aware people of the depletion of the Ozone Layer and its impact on life. The slogan for World Ozone Day 2020 is “Ozone for life” to remind the importance of the Ozone shield for the existence of life on Earth. This year marks the 35 years of global ozone layer protection.
In 1985, the governments at the global level adopted the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. Two years later in 1987, the Montreal Protocol was drafted where the governments, scientists, and industry worked together to cut out 99 percent of all ozone-depleting substances.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the ozone layer is recovering and expected to return to pre-1980 values by mid-century all thanks to the Montreal Protocol.
Meanwhile, supporting the Montreal Protocol, the Kigali Amendment, which came into force in 2019, will work towards reducing hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs) and greenhouse gases that have climate-warming potential and are damaging to the environment.
“Today on World Ozone Day, we celebrate 35 years of the Vienna Convention for the protection of the ozone layer. This convention and its Montreal Protocol united the world to cut out the gases creating a hole in the planet’s ozone layer, critical in shielding us against deadly UV radiation. This model of international cooperation has put the ozone layer on the road to recovery, protecting human and ecosystem health. Such cooperation demonstrates that when people work together, they can fix problems on a global scale," said Inger Anderson, Executive Director of UNEP.
She added, "We need this unity of purpose more than ever, as we seek to address nature loss, climate change and pollution in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the discussions on the replenishment of the multilateral fund. The ozone treaties have a major role to play in this work. I congratulate all involved in the ozone treaties for the 35 years of success and I wish them many more to come.”
How can you protect the ozone layer?
1. Minimize the use of cars. Try to carpool with others. The best transport option is urban, bicycle, or walking.
2. Do not use cleaning products that are harmful to the environment as many cleaning products contain solvents and substances corrosive.
3. Buy local products. In this way, you not only get fresh products but you avoid consuming food that has traveled long distances. As the more distance traveled, the more nitrous oxide is produced due to the medium used to transport that product.