Have you ever had days when your parents are screaming at you to put on sunscreen and you wonder, why must I? The truth is, the sun is dangerous.
The sun’s light consists of UV rays which are powerful as it can threaten our ecosystem, cause damage to plants and crops as well as to humans, such as skin cancers and cataracts if it directly hits our skin.
So… why don’t we all have skin cancer although we are exposed to sunlight everyday?
Yes, sunscreen is one way to protect us but since our ecosystem is made to protect us, we have what is called the ozone layer, a thin atmosphere that creates a barrier between us and the sun by absorbing the harmful UV rays.
This is why World Ozone day is celebrated, to ensure we value our ozone layer which is protecting our lives on Earth as well as coming up with solutions to solve our ozone problems.
What is an Ozone Layer?
Ozone layer is a layer above us and between the sun that covers the planet. This layer helps absorb harmful UV radiations from the sun, allowing living things to survive on Earth.
But this does not mean that the sun is unimportant to us. Without sunlight, the Earth would not be able to survive as many living things rely on the sun for their survival.
However, having UV rays directly from the sun is dangerous for our skin, ecosystem and almost all living things on the planet. This is why the ozone layer, a layer protecting us from direct sunlight, is as important in order to protect lives on Earth.
What is World Ozone Day?
On 16th of September every year, the International Day of Preserving Ozone Layer, also known as World Ozone Day is celebrated, to commemorate the date of the signing the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer by the United Nations General Assembly in 1987.
The World Ozone day is celebrated to spread awareness of the ozone depletion and find possible ways to reduce this phenomenon. On this day, the world comes together to appreciate and understand the importance of ozone layers, discuss the possible ways of protecting the ozone layer as well as come up with educational and awareness campaigns to discuss issues regarding the ozone layer.
World Ozone Day Theme 2021 : Ozone for Life: 36 Years of Ozone Layer Protection
The theme of World Ozone Day 2021 is “Ozone for Life: 36 Years of Ozone Layer Protection.” It’s been 36 years since we first laid our hands to protect the ozone layer as the depletion began in the 1970s. The preservation of the ozone layer has been “good” as one of the deepest ozone layer gaps, “ The Antarctic ozone hole” has successfully closed on January 6th 2021,according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Cause Ozone Depletion
The main cause of ozone depletion is considered to be chlorofluorocarbons, which is a type of gas produced by hair sprays, air conditioners and refrigerators especially back in the 1970s.
Products that contained such compounds were widely sold which contributed to the damage of the ozone layer as the compounds destroyed the ozone molecules, causing thinning of the ozone layer. Nowadays, there is a ban on these compounds, which allows the recovery of ozone layers.
World Ozone Day helps us understand the importance of the ozone layer, the dangers of it depleting from the world and coming up with global solutions to ensure the ozone layer is protected from human activities.
How to Protect Ozone Layer on World Ozone Day
Understand that ozone layers are important elements of our survival, what can we do to ensure we do not destroy it?
Avoid Dangerous Gas
Check the ingredients for products or machines you use to ensure you avoid dangerous gases such as CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), halogenated hydrocarbon, methyl bromide and nitrous oxide.
Decrease Greenhouse Gas emission
- Take public transport or bicycle for transportation
- Turn off unnecessary lights
- Buy from local stores to decrease CO2 emissions from transportation of products
Maintain Air conditioners and Refrigerator
Make sure to do annual checks and replace old products as malfunctions of these electric products can cause CFC to escape into the atmosphere.
Be Informed and Spread the Word
International Days such as World Ozone Day and World Environment Day, celebrated are the best information outlets for us to understand what is happening around the world, the important issues we need to discuss and come up with solutions to settle the problems. World Ozone day is one good example of such issues and by understanding it, we each can take our own actions towards ensuring a better tomorrow for all. Let’s protect our ozone for our beautiful planet!
If you are interested in knowing more about the world’s environmental situation, read this summary about the Earth’s Alarming Report Card from IPCC is a warning signal for Climate Action report to find out more!