International day for the preservation of the ozone layer 2020

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The year 2020 has been one of many catastrophes, from a global pandemic, natural disasters, raging fires that wreaked havoc with the environment. The importance of preserving and restoring our environment has never been more significant. In order to not add complications in the ozone layer to the list, we must all do our parts for the preservation of the stratospheric layer.

Simply put, life on Earth will not be possible without sunlight, but the energy emanating from the sun is too harmful for anything to survive, when in direct contact with it. The ozone layer is a stratospheric layer that acts as a shield for the earth, protecting it from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.

In 1970, when scientists first discovered the hole in the ozone layer, it was a matter of grave concern. They raised the alarm and informed people on how to best reduce their carbon emissions which are the leading cause for harm to the ozone layer. With this in mind, the world’s governments banded together and formed the Vienna Convention in 1985. Under the convention, they established the Montreal Protocol which dictated that governments, scientists, and industries work together and cut out 99% of all ozone-depleting substances.

To commemorate the signing of the Montreal protocol in 1987, the United Nations General Assembly announced September 16 as ‘International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer’, in 1994. 30 years after the signing of the protocol, scientists finally reported that the hole in the ozone layer had closed.

The theme for this year World Ozone Day is “Ozone for life: 35 years of ozone layer protection”.

In order to allow the ozone layer to recuperate and continue protection from ultraviolet radiation, here are some steps that we can take to contribute on an individual level –

• Regularly get your electric appliances serviced and discard appliances that have been in use for from that 10/15 years as they emit more ozone depleting substances (ODS).

• Be careful in disposing off your electric appliances and take special care to not damage the cooling circuit, as this is the part that contains the ODS.

• The old ODS from refrigerators and air conditioners needs to be properly recovered and recycled in order to ensure that it is not released into the atmosphere. This should only be done by a technician.

• Old insulation foams that contain the ODS should be disposed of as environmentally hazardous waste.

• Opt for ‘Energy Star’ labels when purchasing appliances for the home or office.

• Conserve energy in your home and office, switch off all electronics that are not in current use.

• Avoid travelling by personal cars as much as possible. Opt for public transport, car-pooling, cycling and walking, whenever possible.

• Follow proper gasoline refuelling instructions, be careful not to spill fuel and make sure to tighten the gas cap properly after refuelling.

• Ensuring the proper tuning of all your automobiles, even the ones not in current use.

• Use environmentally safe paints and cleaning products as much as possible.

• Avoid using cosmetics, hair sprays, room fresheners as these products contain Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

• Avoid using chemical fertilizer as many harmful greenhouse gasses are released during their manufacture.

• Educate the upcoming generations about safety measures and encourage them to go green as much as possible.