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International Day for Preservation of Ozone Layer (World Ozone Day) 16th September, 2021
India is a party to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the Ozone Layer. The United Nations General Assembly on 23rd January, 1995 adopted a resolution which proclaims 16th September as the WORLD OZONE DAY, commemorating the date on which Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed in 1987.
The theme for this year’s World Ozone Day is “Montreal Protocol- Keeping us, our food and vaccines cool”
What is ozone?
Ozone is a gas that is naturally present in our atmosphere. Each ozone molecule contains three atoms of oxygen and is denoted chemically as O3. Ozone is found primarily in two regions of the atmosphere. About 10% of atmospheric ozone is in the troposphere, the region closest to Earth (from the surface to about 10–16 kilometers (6–10 miles)). The remaining ozone (about 90%) resides in the stratosphere between the top of the troposphere and about 50 kilometers (31 miles) altitude. The large amount of ozone in the stratosphere is often referred to as the “ozone layer.”
“The ozone layer is a region in the earth’s stratosphere that contains high concentrations of ozone and protects the earth from the harmful ultraviolet radiations of the sun.”
What is Ozone Layer Depletion?
Ozone layer depletion is the thinning of the ozone layer present in the upper atmosphere. This happens when the chlorine and bromine atoms in the atmosphere come in contact with ozone and destroy the ozone molecules. One chlorine atom can destroy 100,000 molecules of ozone. It is destroyed more quickly than it is created.
What Are Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS)?
Ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) are manufactured for specific industrial uses or consumer products, most of which result in the eventual emission of these gases to the atmosphere. A large fraction of the emitted ODSs reach the stratosphere, where they are converted to reactive gases containing chlorine and bromine that lead to ozone depletion. ODSs containing only carbon, chlorine, and fluorine are called chlorofluorocarbons, usually abbreviated as CFCs. These chlorine-containing ODSs have been used in many applications, including refrigeration, air conditioning, foam blowing, aerosol propellants, and cleaning of metals and electronic components.
Effects of Ozone Layer Depletion
• Effects on Human Health
Humans will be directly exposed to the harmful ultraviolet radiations of the sun due to the depletion of the ozone layer. This might result in serious health issues among humans, such as skin diseases, cancer, sunburns, cataract, quick ageing and weak immune system.
• Effects on Animals
Direct exposure to ultraviolet radiations leads to skin and eye cancer in animals.
• Effects on the Environment
Strong ultraviolet rays may lead to minimal growth, flowering and photosynthesis in plants. The forests also have to bear the harmful effects of the ultraviolet rays.
• Effects on Marine Life
Planktons are greatly affected by the exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays. These are higher in the aquatic food chain. If the planktons are destroyed, the organisms present in the food chain are also affected.
Take Care of Your Appliances To Minimise Ozone Layer Impact
• Dispose of appliances and equipment with refrigerants responsibly. Dispose your old refrigerator by taking it to a qualified and certified expert, as refrigerators and freezers contain refrigerants that must be removed and recovered before other parts are recycled.
• Set the thermostat of your refrigerator and freezer at the right temperature by avoiding too low temperatures. A warmer setting of your air conditioner thermostat will also save energy. Switch equipment off when not in use as even a standby mode consumes energy.
• Cooling systems depend on good airflow through their heat exchange panels (evaporators and condensers). Mount your refrigerator so that air can easily circulate at the back and do not put the refrigerator freezer next to an oven or dishwasher.
• Clean the refrigerator regularly at the back where the condenser is located and de-ice the freezer regularly.
About air conditioners:
• Mount the air conditioner condenser in the shadow outside. Use blinds if there is too much sun influx that needs to be cooled away and clean your condenser and evaporator regularly.
• Keep rooms cool at night with ventilation, without air-conditioning if possible.
• Switch your car air conditioner on after you have been driving for a few minutes with windows open and park your car in the shadow.
Appliances In General
• When buying new equipment’s/appliances, look for ‘Ozone friendly’, ‘HCF free’ or ‘energy efficient’. Remember: If it is energy efficient, it will not only help save the environment but it will also reduce your energy bills.
• Regularly service older equipment (not CFC free) as their malfunctions cause CFC to escape into the atmosphere. When your equipment needs to be serviced, ask for trained, qualified and certified experts to ensure the equipment is properly repaired and carrier gases are recycled
• Insulate your walls, doors and windows properly for improved energy efficiency and prolonged life of your equipment.
• Have your car and home air conditioner and refrigerator checked for leakage. When possible, leaky units should be repaired before being refilled.
Nagaland Pollution Control Board
Signal Point, Dimapur