INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE OZONE LAYER

Written by: Miguel Andres D. Iringan

“Not only is ozone crucial for life on Earth, but that we must continue to protect the ozone layer for future generations.” – United Nations, 2020.

The story began throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s when indications arose that the world’s ozone layer is deteriorating – this is tragic, but it demands significant attention since it poses a serious concern among all life forms. As a global approach, the world’s nations enacted the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer in 1985. Also, under the Montreal Protocol of the Convention, science, business, and authorities united to eliminate 99 percent of any and all ozone-depleting compounds. In this sense, the ozone layer is regenerating and is projected to restore towards pre-1980 levels by the middle of the century.

The world commemorates its 36th jubilee through these efforts, as it was acknowledged that every 16th of September, everyone will emphasize appreciating the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, also known as World Ozone Day. The event demonstrates how science-guided communal judgments and engagement have been the only means of resolving significant global challenges. With this, the ozone treaties’ objective of acting together within harmony as well as for the betterment of society is much more essential than it has ever been, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had caused great socio-economic misery.

By the topic, what is the Ozone Layer? The Ozone Layer is a thin coating of the stratosphere that serves as a deterrent or sunscreen of the Earth against ultraviolet radiation from the Sun – this is because it is made up of a molecule with high reactivity, Ozone, that is capable of absorbing for about 98 percent of the radiation (National Geographic, 2018). Aside from that, the Sun is frequently praised for its usefulness to all life forms; nevertheless, its drawback is that it has serious health consequences for mankind, including chronic eye damage, skin cancer, and other conditions that can result in death. For wildlife, since all life has been interlinked, extreme UV-B restricts the cellular activity with almost every green plant, raising concerns that ozone depletion might well result in the extinction of plant species as well as a reduction in the food supply chain. Any transformation in the homeostasis of plant species can also have grave ramifications (Environment Abatement Council of Canada, 2013). 

Today, due to ozone-depleting gases (ODSs) from the families of chemicals known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and halons used throughout aerosols and cooling, like in refrigerators and air conditioners, the ozone layer has become thinner. Moreover, two Californian chemists Mario Molina and Sherwood Rowland determined that the atmosphere has a limited amount for receiving chlorine atoms throughout the stratosphere as each atom of chlorine may disrupt over 100,000 ozone molecules. 

Ultimately, in 2018, the United Nations verified that the ozone layer is healing in a scientific evaluation, estimating this will heal fully within (non-polar) Northern Hemisphere by the 2030s, the Southern Hemisphere in the 2050s, and pole regions in the 2060s (Nunez, 2019). Although we continue to strive for complete recovery, monitoring is ongoing, as hazardous substances, particularly hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), remain to circulate in the atmosphere; the Kigali Amendment, which went into effect in 2019, aims to eradicate it (United Nations, 2020).

We should therefore take this issue seriously as world citizens and keep defending the ozone layer for succeeding generations. In the sense of exercising and adhering to protocols including such as reducing the use of automobiles, reducing the use of toxic cleaning agents, preventing the intake of ozone-depleting gases, and so on. Hereby, this will be a solid foundation in advocating for this cause.

REFERENCES:

Canada, E. A. C. C. (2013). Ozone layer depletion: health and environmental effects – Canada.ca. Government of Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/air-pollution/issues/ozone-layer/depletion-impacts/health-environmental-effects.html

Climate 101: Ozone Depletion | National Geographic. (2018, February 12). [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU6pxSNDPhs

Experts reveal major holes in international ozone treaty: Major holes in ozone hole treaty must be addressed to avert stronger climate change and serious risks to human health, experts warn. (n.d.). ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 12, 2021, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200826083036.htm

National Geographic Society. (2012, October 9). ozone layer. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/ozone-layer/

Nunez, C. (2021, May 3). The facts about ozone depletion. Environment. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/ozone-depletion

United Nations. (2020). International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. https://www.un.org/en/observances/ozone-day

The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer | Ozone Secretariat. (n.d.). United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved August 12, 2021, from https://ozone.unep.org/treaties/vienna-conventionWorld Ozone Day 2020 – Ozone for life! (2020, September 3). [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMK86MgrRnM

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