The United Nations (UN) International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, also known as World Ozone Day, is celebrated on 16 September every year. This event commemorates the date of the signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the Ozone Layer in 1987.
The theme for 2019, "32 Years and Healing" celebrates over three decades of remarkable international cooperation to protect the Ozone Layer and the climate under the Montreal Protocol. The Montreal Protocol has led to the phase-out of 99% of ozone-depleting chemicals in refrigerators, air-conditioners and many other products. It reminds us to keep up the momentum to ensure healthy people and a healthy planet.
Human activity has damaged this protective layer of the stratosphere and while Ozone Layer health has improved, there's still much to be done, such as:
- Avoiding consumption of gases dangerous to the ozone layer, due to their content or manufacturing process. Some of the most dangerous gases are CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), halogenated hydrocarbon, methyl bromide, and nitrous oxide.
- Minimising the use of cars.
- Avoiding cleaning products that are harmful to the environment and to humans. Many cleaning products contain solvents and substances corrosive. It can be replaced with non-toxic products such as vinegar or bicarbonate.
- Buy local products. In this way, consuming food that has traveled long distances can be avoided. As the more distance traveled, the more nitrous oxide is produced due to the medium used to transport that product.
- Maintain air conditioners, as their malfunctions cause CFC to escape into the atmosphere.
In the meantime, companies and scientists are working on climate-friendly alternatives, including new coolants and technologies that reduce or eliminate dependence on harmful chemicals.