Monday, 16 September 2013

Ozone Layer Preservation Day

Today is 16th September,2013(Monday).It is International day for Preservation of Ozone Layer.Ozone layer depletion was observed since the 1970s in two ways:
1.A steady decline of about 4% per decade in the total volume of Ozone in Stratosphere.
2.A much larger spring time decrease in Ozone layer over Earth's Polar regions, especially the Antarctica.
                        The consequences of Ozone layer depletion  are Skin cancer, Cataract , Lower immunity and damage to plants.Due to efforts of all the nations, there is some success in controlling the Ozone layer depletion .There is a clear evidence of decrease in the burden of Ozone depleting Substances(ODSs) and signs of Ozone recovery .But the long life of ODSs like CFC means that it may take another 75 years to go back to values like those of 1960s.In February 2013, Ozone hole over Antartica was the smallest in the past decade.So there are signs of hope.
                                   The Montreal Protocol was adopted on September16,1987.At present , 197 countries are a party to Montreal Protocol.India became a party to the Montreal Protocol on 17th December,1992.Under the Protocol,production and use of 96 ODSs was controlled .India was using 9 out of these 96.On December 19,1994,the UN General Assembly proclaimed September16 to be the International day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.It was first celebrated on 16th September,1995.Today is 19th  International Ozone Layer Preservation day.
                                   The nine ODSs India was  using in 1992 were:
1.CFC ChloroFlouroCarbon(3 types)
2.CTC carbon Tetra Chloride
3.HCFC hydroChloroFlouroCarbons
4.Methyl Chloroform
6Halone(2 types)
The seven major industries in which these nine ODSs were being used were:
4.Solvent sector
6.Metered Dose Inhalers(MDI)
7.Fire Extinguishers
India has successfully phased out the production and consumption of CFC,CTC,Halons on 1st January,2010, except in MDI.India has agreed to phase out HCFC by January1,2030.The same is the success story the world over.The success story of the Montreal Protocol gives us a hope that the nations of the world are capable of cooperation for the common good.It also shows that the governments , industry, civil society can work together for meeting other developmental and environmental challenges.
                                    However we cannot rest contented.In India, we have replaced CFC by HFC.But HFC as well as HCFC  are 10,000 times more potent than Carbon dioxide in causing Global warming .So we have preserved Ozone layer but caused Global warming .The Montreal protocol does not place any restriction on HFC.Also there is a huge cost of transition from HFC to Safer options ,which do not cause Global warming.The USA is trying to link Ozone preservation to Climate protection efforts.India has to take a view, as climate protection is covered under Kyoto Protocol.Next meeting of parties of the Montreal Protocol is due in November,2013 in Bangkok.We need to create public opinion to opt for policies that contribute to Ozone rich but less warm atmosphere.We have to keep our atmosphere healthy and pollution free ,in line with the theme"Healthy Atmosphere,the future we want"This is the message of International day for Preservation of Ozone Layer,2013.
                    I have been told that one out of every four citizens of Australia suffers from skin cancer because of Ozone hole in Antartica and Southern Hemisphere.If it is true,(I wish ,it were wrong) there is an urgency  to fight Ozone depletion , especially in Southern Hemisphere.