The world observes September 16th as International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer or World Ozone Day. The day marks the anniversary of the Montreal Protocol which was signed to keep in check Ozone depleting substances. On this day, people from all over the world hold talks and seminars on the ozone layer. Educators teach students about the benefits of the Ozone layer and special events and activities are organised to spread awareness.
The ozone layer is a fragile shield of gas that protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the rays of the sun, thus helping preserve life on the planet. Ozone is a protective layer that protects us from harmful radiations of the sun. It is crucial for sustaining life on this planet. Montreal Protocol was an effort countries made to collaborate and protect the ozone layer. The principal aim of the Montreal Protocol is to protect ozone layer by taking measures to control total global production and consumption of substances that deplete it.
World Ozone Day 2022 Theme “Montreal Protocol@35: global cooperation protecting life on earth” is the theme of World Ozone Day 2022.
Let us understand what Ozone is and how it is being depleted.
Ozone is made up of three atoms of oxygen. It is highly reactive gas and is represented by O3. It occurs naturally as well as a man-made product in the Earth’s upper atmosphere i.e. stratosphere and lower atmosphere i.e. troposphere. The Ozone layer is present in Earth’s atmosphere (15-35km above Earth) in the lower portion of the stratosphere and has relatively high concentrations of ozone (O3). Naturally, it is formed through the interactions of solar UV radiation with molecular oxygen O2. It reduces the harmful UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface.
The main cause of ozone depletion and the ozone hole is manufactured chemicals, especially manufactured halocarbon refrigerants, solvents, propellants, and foam- blowing agents (chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), HCFCs, halons). Since the early 1970’s, scientists observed reduction in stratospheric ozone and it was found more prominent in Polar Regions. ODS substances have a lifetime of about 100 years.