The theme for the World Ozone Day 2022 or International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, to be marked on 16 September, is Montreal Protocol@35: global cooperation protecting life on earth.
The theme recognises the wider impact the Montreal Protocol has on climate change and the need to act in collaboration, forge partnerships and develop global cooperation to address climate challenges and protect life on earth for future generations.
World Ozone Day is celebrated annually on September 16 with an aim to make awareness about Ozone Layer depletion. The entire world takes part in this noble cause as an international day for the preservation of the Ozone layer. On this day, people from different walks of life are expected to join the Montreal protocol for participation in talks and seminars. The ozone layer, which protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays, is basically a fragile shield of gas. These ultraviolet rays are not good for life, thus the Ozone layer helping preserve life on the Earth. The Ozone layer is depleting day by day due to human activities on the earth. The harmful waste and gases of the industries affecting the Ozone layer badly.
World Ozone Day: History (Montreal Protocol)
The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer was adopted on March 22, 1985, and signed by the 28 countries. On 16 September 1987, an agreement was signed on substances that deplete the Ozone Layer and marks the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. This agreement is known as the Montreal Protocol.
The United Nations General Assembly selected this day in its resolution 49/114 in 1987. Let us tell you that the Montreal Protocol was implemented on 1 January 1989. Basically, it is an international plan or agreement to protect the ozone layer by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases or the production of substances supposed to be responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer.
In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared 16 September as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, commemorating the date of the signing, in 1987, of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Later in the year 2012, the 20th anniversary of the Montreal protocol was celebrated. The Montreal Protocol and Vienna Convention became the first treaties in the United Nations’ history, to achieve universal ratification on 16th September 2009. On this day, Schools and Colleges organize events and essay writing competitions to spread awareness on the Ozone layer and its importance.
What is the Ozone Layer?
It is well established that the Ozone layer protects us from the harmful ultraviolet rays coming from the sun. In the year 1957, Professor Gordon Dobson of Oxford University discovered the existence of the Ozone layer. The Ozone layer is made up of three atoms of oxygen, which is a highly reactive gas and is represented by O3.
It is a natural process as well as man-made produce in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, i.e. stratosphere and lower atmosphere, i.e. troposphere. That is the Ozone layer is situated in Earth`s atmosphere (15-35km above Earth) in the lower portion of the stratosphere and has relatively high concentrations of ozone (O3). It is basically made of the interactions of solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation with molecular oxygen O2. It reduces the harmful Ultra Violet radiation reaching the Earth’s surface.
But ozone is considered a major air pollutant at the ground level. We all are aware that ozone protects us from harmful UV radiation but ozone is dangerous and causes pollution at the ground level. The ozone layer is getting depleted day by day due to human activities and it would be disastrous for the planet. It also causes acid rain and photochemical smog.
What is Ozone Pollution and how it affects health?
The Kigali Agreement was signed on October 15, 2016. The 28th meeting of the parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone layer reached an agreement in Kigali, Rwanda to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
World Ozone Day: Reasons for Ozone Depletion
The main reason for the depletion of the Ozone layer is human activity mainly carbon emission and chemicals that contain chlorine or bromine. These chemicals are generally referred to as ODS that is Ozone – Depleting Substances. Since the early 1970’s scientists from all over the world observed a reduction in stratospheric ozone and it was found more prominent in Polar Regions. Do you know that one molecule of chlorine has the potential to break down thousands of ozone molecules? The main ozone-depleting substances include carbon tetrachloride, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and methyl chloroform. Halons, which are known as brominated fluorocarbons, contribute highly to ozone depletion. The pollutants, which affects the Ozone layer have a lifetime of about 100 years.
What are the effects of Ozone depletion?
The ozone layer protects from the harmful UV rays from the sun. Depletion of the Ozone layer may impact life on the Earth Planet badly. Ozone depletion also affects the environment adversely by changing the life cycles of plans and disrupting the food chain. Microscopic organisms such as plankton may not survive hence animals dependent on planktons will also not be able to survive. The depletion of the ozone layer may reflect in wind patterns, global warming, and other health issues to humans and other species on the earth planet.
World Ozone Day: Harmful effects of UV Rays
- UV rays cause skin cancer.
- Ultra Violet rays cause skin burns and other health issues.
- It can weaken the immune system
- Prolonged exposure to UV rays can damage the eye tissues and burn of eyes, which is knowns as ‘snow blindness’.
- These harmful rays also speed up the ageing of the skin.
- Several pigments like the fabric, plastic, colour used for colouring food, ink, paint, dyes, etc. absorb UV and change colour.
Preventive measures to save Earth Planet from UV Rays
- Promote gardening and plantation so that it can reduce pollution and absorb harmful chemicals.
- Use of products which has Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) such as cosmetics, hair sprays fresheners, and aerosol in plastic containers should be avoided.
- Always use fertilizers, which is environmentally friendly.
- Prevent excessive emission of smoke from your vehicle which causes air pollution. Go for electric vehicles or use public transport such as the metro to save oil and earth.
- Do not burn plastics and rubber tires.
Therefore, World Ozone Day is observed on September 16, each year to spread awareness among the world population so that they can understand the importance of the environment.