International Ozone Day 2017

Posted by Mr.Naresh Thakar | 16th September 2017

International-Ozone Day 2017
Caring for all life under the sun
The United Nations observes designated days, weeks, years, and decades, each with a theme, or topic to promote international awareness and action on respective issues.  
In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 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 vide resolution (49/114).
Ozone is a special form of oxygen having three oxygen atoms. The oxygen we breathe and that is so vital to life on earth. Ozone constitutes a very small part of our atmosphere, but its presence is nevertheless vital to human well-being. Most ozone resides high up in the atmosphere, between 10 and 40km above Earth's surface. This region is called the stratosphere and it contains about 90 percentage of all the ozone in the atmosphere. Ozone in the stratosphere absorbs some of the Sun’s biologically harmful ultraviolet radiation. Because of this beneficial role, stratospheric ozone is considered ‘good’ ozone. In contrast, excess ozone at Earth’s surface that is formed from pollutants is considered ‘bad’ ozone because it can be harmful to humans, plants, and animals. The ozone that occurs naturally near the surface and in the lower atmosphere is also beneficial because ozone helps remove pollutants from the atmosphere.
The findings of a British Antarctic Survey article published in May 1985. Thereafter, the phenomenon of ozone depletion over Antarctica was referred to as the ‘ozone hole’, a phrase first attributed to Nobel Prize winner Sherwood Rowland. The satellite image of the Ozone Hole has become a global symbol of this environmental threat. It has helped mobilize public support for the Montreal Protocol.
Commonly used chemicals have been found to be extremely damaging to the ozone layer. Halocarbons are chemicals in which one or more carbon atoms are linked to one or more halogen atoms (fluorine, chlorine, bromine or iodine). Halocarbons containing bromine usually have much higher ozone-depleting potential (ODP) than those containing chlorine. The man-made chemicals that have provided most of the chlorine and bromine for ozone depletion are methyl bromide, methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride and families of chemicals known as halons, halons, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).
Foams:Chlorofluorocarbonshave been used extensively in the manufacture of polyurethane, phenolic, polystyrene and polyolefin foam polymers, used in many different products.
Halons: Halon has been widely used in portable fire extinguishers.
Hydro chlorofluorocarbons: Hydro chlorofluoro carbonsare widely used in the refrigeration, foam, solvent, aerosol and fire fighting sectors as a transitional substance to substitute Chlorofluorocarbons.
Methyl bromide: Methyl bromide is widely used as a fumigant in agriculture, for pest control in structures and stored commodities, and for quarantine treatments. 
Solvents, Coatings & Adhesives: In the past, chlorofluorocarbons use was essential in electronic assembly production processes, precision cleaning and general metal degreasing during manufacture, as well as in dry cleaning and other industrial applications.
The scientific confirmation of the depletion of the ozone layer prompted the international community to establish a mechanism for cooperation to take action to protect the ozone layer. This was formalized in the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, which was adopted and signed by 28 countries, on 22 March 1985. In September 1987, this led to the drafting of The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
Montreal Protocol: The Montreal Protocol aimed at protection of the ozone layer, identification and measures to control total global production and consumption of ODS- Ozone Deplete Substances and ultimately elimination thereof in a time bound manner. The Montreal Protocol identified nearly 100 chemicals, in several categories. 
There are few exceptions for essential uses where no acceptable substitutes have been found, for example, in metered dose inhalers (MDI) commonly used to treat asthma and other respiratory problems or halon fire-suppression systems used in submarines and aircraft.
Ozone layer Status : The ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the rays of the sun, thus helping preserve life on the planet. The phase out of ODS have not only helped protect the ozone layer for present and future generations, but have also contributed significantly to global efforts to address climate change, human health and ecosystems.
Montreal Protocol Implementation: The Montreal Protocol implementation progressed well in developed and developing countries. All phase-out schedules were adhered to, some even ahead of schedule. In view of the steady progress made under the Protocol, already in 2003, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated “Perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date has been the Montreal Protocol”.
On 16th September 2009, the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol became the first treaties in the history of the United Nations to achieve universal ratification.
Kigali Amendment:On 15 October 2016, the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on ODS havereached an agreement to phase-down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in Kigali, Rwanda.
Caring for all life under the sun : As this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol,the Ozone Secretariat has marked on 16 September 2017 as part of the anniversary celebrations, with a theme ‘Caring for All Life under the Sun’. The Ozone Heroes campaign is launched. The major accomplishments shall be marked of the Montreal Protocol in protecting the ozone layer and the climate change. Public recognition of the success shall increase. Moreover, further support shall be generated for the MontrealProtocol and its new mandate to phase down climate-warming HFC-hydrofluorocarbons under the Kigali Amendment, adopted in 2016.
Let us further keep on Greening our surroundings with additional plants and adopt eco-friendly life style are among the best ways to protect all life on the Earth under the Sun. 
Mr.Naresh Thakar, 
Former PRO, GPCB

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