Today is the World Ozone Day, 2023. The world observes the World Ozone Day or International Day for the Preservation of Ozone Layer every year on September 16. The Day is observed to commemorate the Montreal Protocol, a UN treaty to protect and conserve the Earth’s ozone layer.
Ozone layer is a region in the Earth’s atmosphere that absorbs the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. The layer protects the humans, animals and plants from UV’s dangerous effects. However, the Earth’s ozone layer faces the threat of depletion from the ozone depleting substances (ODS) emissions from the human activities.
Ozone Layer Depletion
The depletion of ozone layer is a cause of concern for the human being, animals and plants alike. However, it is largely the humans whose industrial activities have led to the depletion of ozone layer and formation of holes in it. Ozone depletion is known to increase the global warming, which is already a huge concern for the world. Further, exposing ourselves to the incoming UV rays of sun can cause skin cancer and induce cataract formation. These rays are also known to hinder the growth rate in plants and harm the marine ecosystem as well.
Ozone Depleting Substances
These man-made ozone depleting substances (ODS) are- chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), halons, methyl bromide, methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride and hydrobromofluorocarbons. These pollutants have been held responsible for ozone depletion and forming holes in the ozone layer of Earth. Refrigerants, solvents, propellants and foam-blowing agents are some of the sources of ODSs.
The Montreal Protocol is a landmark UN multilateral environmental agreement that regulates the production of nearly 100 ODSs. Upon realisation, countries in the world, in 1987, came together to agree to a treaty to gradually phase down the production and consumption of the ODSs. This makes the Protocol the only UN agreement to have been ratified by all 198 member-states.
World Ozone Day Background
In order to set the tone of actions towards ozone protection and conservation every year, the UN General Assembly in 1994 declared September 16 the International Day for the Preservation of Ozone Layer. The theme for this year’s World Ozone Day 2023 is “Montreal Protocol: Fixing the Ozone Layer and Reducing the Climate Change”.
According to a UN report, the ozone layer is expected to recover to its average 1980 levels by the year 2040. The report also mentions that the Antarctic ozone hole will persist until 2066 or so.
Therefore, it becomes very crucial for the world to eliminate the consumption of the ozone depleting substances and focus more on sustainable development and environment-friendly way of life.