World Ozone Layer Day

Celebrated on the mid September annually, The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer has been observed since 1995. The date 16th of September marks the signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1987 and thus to commemorate this initiative taken for the protection of ozone layer at a global level, this day has been picked by United Nations General Assembly.

Ozone in simplest terms is tri-oxygen. The naturally occurring gas made up of three oxygen atoms forms a protective shield above 10-50km the earth surface. That region of earth’s stratosphere is the sole reason we are still able to breathe, see, eat, read this post or be alive. Otherwise the harmful rays of the sun would fry us like our favorite potato chips. The ozone layer was discovered in 1913 by the French physicists Charles Fabry and Henri Buisson. Then after various studies and researches were carried out on its properties, its necessity but the alarm rang only during the 1970s when it was discovered that the layer was depleting and Ozone hole had come to existence. This revelation jeopardized the life forms on earth. All the nations thus, came together with an initiative to guard the Ozone layer, basically to protect Earth. In 1985, the Vienna Convention for the protection of the Ozone Layer was agreed upon.

This observation aims to spread the awareness of the causes and consequences of the Ozone Layer depletion. Corresponding promotional items are also used this day that makes the use of symbols of sun, sky, or to represent the significance. As much as it intends to evade the use of ozone depleting substances mainly CFC (chlorofluorocarbons) used as refrigerants, it encourages finding possible alternatives and solutions for the perpetuation of the earth’s protective cast.

United Nations Environment Programme is currently responsible in supervising the compliance with the international protocols in the eradication of use of CFC not only as refrigerants but in aerosols and the pesticide Methyl bromide. UNEP’s efforts to recover the original form of Ozone and maintaining it have a lot of challenges but it is attainable with persistency. This year, the theme for Ozone Layer Day is “Ozone Layer Protection: The Mission Goes On”.

As per UNEP in their official site, “this year’s theme seeks to galvanize all stakeholders to increase their efforts to address the challenges. It was selected following an online voting exercise.”

Visit UNEP Ozone Secretariat site to know more.

World Ozone Day is observed all around the world. For educators, community and organizations of all levels, this day is practical in organizing various activities and raise understanding about ozone, its importance and our role in the depletion as well as protection. The topics regarding this subject matter is addressed with value.

In contrary to the substantial role Ozone layer has, it’s merely a fragile gas layer preserving life on Earth. We Earthlings are not actually saving the ozone from depletion but ourselves. Hence, for us and the future generations to come, it’s time we contribute and if not add up; then stop thinning the layer that has protected the whole ecosystem so far.