International Day for Preservation of Ozone Layer: Significance of the most successful global climate treaty

world ozone daySeveral common chemicals are known to cause severe damage to the ozone layer. (UN)

As climate change and global warming take centre stage, a less heralded hero of the Earth’s atmosphere quietly battles on.

A thin layer of gas surrounding the Earth, the ozone layer protects the planet from the sun’s harmful rays, thus preserving life. Pollution now threatens that fragile shield itself. The ozone layer has thinned over the years and, if left unchecked, could expose humans to the Sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation that can induce cataract formation and cause skin cancer.

Several common chemicals are known to cause severe damage to the ozone layer. Halocarbons (Chlorine, Bromine, Fluorine, and Iodine) have very high Ozone-depleting potential. Man-made chemicals that have played a significant role in the depletion of the Earth’s Ozone layer are Methyl Chloroform, Methyl Bromide, Carbon Tetrachloride, and families of chemicals such as Chlorofluorocarbons, Hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and Halons.

In an attempt to raise awareness about how rampant use of such common chemicals can cause severe long-term damage, the United Nations observes September 16 as International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.

The day originates from the Montreal Protocol that regulates the output and use of around 100 ozone-depleting chemicals substances. The protocol was adopted in 1987, becoming the only United Nations treaty to be ratified by its 198 member-states. The United Nations General Assembly announced in 1994 the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer would be commemorated on September 16.

The Montreal Protocol has led to a united effort to phase out substances that can cause ozone depletion. This effort has led to the healing of the ozone layer hole which, in turn, protects humans, economies, and ecosystems.

With this year’s theme ‘Montreal Protocol – Keeping us, our food and vaccines cool’, the United Nations is celebrating the Montreal Protocol’s unprecedented act of humanity.

Danfoss India President Ravichandran Purushothaman said: “Cold chain and refrigeration industry lies at the core of the theme for World Ozone Day 2021 – ‘Keeping us, our food, and vaccines cool’. This will help bolster awareness about the impact of this sector on food loss and wastage, the economy and most importantly, public and environmental health.

Danfoss Industries, a Denmark-based multinational company, recently inaugurated its Centre of Excellence for green refrigerants, including a new Green Refrigerant Testing Centre, in Chennai as it aims to make Earth environmentally secure and climatically safer.

The company sees this as a major green milestone as it seeks to provide sustainable cooling for everyone and help in the green transformation of the country’s cold chain sector. Danfoss has also tied up with the Indian Institute of Science to explore carbon dioxide as a natural refrigerant for Indian conditions.

“This is a vital step towards emphasizing the need for adapting latest technologies to local conditions and working with regional research institutes to build the local ecosystem necessary for nourishing new climate-friendly technologies, to ensure a green and sustainable tomorrow for India,” Purushothaman said.

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