World Ozone Day

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The International community is observing 16 September as World Ozone Day. The theme for 2020 is Ozone for life: 35 years of ozone layer protection as it marks 35 years of the Vienna Convention, which was accepted globally on 1985. In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 16 September 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.

 Life on Earth would not be possible without sunlight. But the energy emanating from the sun would be too much for life on Earth to thrive were it not for the ozone layer. This stratospheric layer shields Earth from most of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. Sunlight makes life possible, but the ozone layer makes life as we know it possible. It was discovered in 1970s that humanity was creating a hole in this protective shield. The hole – caused by ozone-depleting gases (ODSs) used in aerosols and cooling, such as refrigerators and air-conditioners – was threatening to increase cases of skin cancer and cataracts, and damage plants, crops, and ecosystems.

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In 1985, the world’s governments adopted the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. Under the Convention’s Montreal Protocol, governments, scientists and industry worked together to cut out 99 per cent of all ozone-depleting substances. Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is healing and expected to return to pre-1980 values by mid-century. In support of the Protocol, the Kigali Amendment, which came into force in 2019, will work towards reducing hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs), greenhouse gases with powerful climate warming potential and damaging to the environment. World Ozone Day, held on September 16, celebrates this achievement. It shows that collective decisions and action, guided by science, are the only way to solve major global crises. 

Source – United Nations (un.org)

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