Time to take stock as World commemorates day for Ozone layer preservation

Environmentalist, Ms Rumbidzai Noreen Matonga

Commemorating the International Day for the preservation of the Ozone layer is very critical in the fight against the scourge of global warming as communities get to take stock of successes and failures registered thus far in mitigating the phenomenon, an environmentalist has said.

Speaking to EnviroZim today,  Environmentalist, Ms Rumbidzai Noreen Matonga said September 16 is an important day as the world marks the International Day for the preservation of the ozone layer, a day that allows people to be educated on the importance of protecting the ozone layer.

“It is very important to commemorate this day because if we do not conscientise each other on the negative effects of a depleted ozone layer, we risk the extinction of life forms on the planet due to direct exposure to excessive sunlight.

“Regardless of whether one is an environmentalist or not, today brings us all together to share ideas and proffer solutions to the issues of preserving the ozone layer , while taking stock of both our successes and failures to date,” she said.

The Ozone layer is a fragile shield of gas that is responsible for protecting the earth from the harmful portion of the sun’s rays thus helping preserve life on the planet.

Ms Matonga added that once the ozone layer completely depletes, it would spell doom for all life forms on the planet because the heat from direct sunlight would no longer have a ‘blanket’ (the ozone layer) to protect human beings, wildlife and vegetation by controlling its intensity hence all life would effectively perish.

“Already, a hole existed in the Antarctic ozone and there was urgent need to ensure it was kept under check. It is however commendable to note that there have been positive reports to that effect ,” said Ms Matonga.

NASA reports suggest that in 2019, the Antarctic ozone hole was at its smallest since 1982, while the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) in January this year reported that the 2020 Antarctic ozone hole had finally closed at the end of December.

The closure was attributed to naturally occurring meteorological conditions and the continued presence of ozone depleting substances in the atmosphere.

Earlier this year, according to the Head of WMO Atmospheric Environment Research Division , Oskana Tarasova, “ the last two ozone hole seasons demonstrate the year- to-year variability of the ozone hole and improve our understanding of the factors responsible for its formations, extent and severity.”

To that effect Tarasova emphasised the need for continued international action in order to ensure the smooth enforcement of the Montreal Protocol on ozone deletion chemicals . This is so because there is still enough ozone depleting substances in the atmosphere to cause ozone depletion annually.

The International Day for the preservation of the Ozone layer, was proclaimed for every 16th of September by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994, with intent to commemorate the signing of the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer resolution 49/114.

The main objective of the protocol is to protect the ozone layer by taking measures that control total global production and consumption of substances that deplete it, the ultimate goal of their elimination being on the basis of developments in scientific knowledge and technological information.

It was noticed that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCS) and a range of other ozone depleting substances used in aerosols, cooling and refrigeration systems were actually causing the tearing of a hole in the ozone layer and allowing dangerous ultra violet radiation to flood through.

Governments thus agreed under the Montreal Protocol to cooperate in phasing out production and use of chemicals that deplete the ozone layer. Such include greenhouse gases which in turn contribute towards global warming.

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