By Naseerah Nanabhai
In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the 16th of September as World Ozone Day in commemoration of the date, in 1987 when the nations signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. This protocol was an international treaty aimed at phasing out the production of ozone-depleting substances.
The ozone layer, also called the stratosphere, is a light shield made up of ozone gas that protects the earth from harmful sun rays, thereby conserving life on the planet. This low-pressure region comprises three oxygen atoms, often called O3, which is a higher concentration of ozone than other parts of the atmosphere.
Ozone-depleting substances are artificial gases that damage and destroy the ozone layer once they reach it.
In recent years, the phaseout of controlled use of ozone-depleting substances and other reductions has helped protect the ozone layer and significantly contributed to worldwide efforts to address climate change.
Reducing ozone-depleting substances protects human health and ecosystems, as harmful ultraviolet radiation is limited from reaching the earth.
World Ozone Day is meant to spread awareness about damaging the Ozone Layer and explore possible solutions to preserve it. On this day, people from all over the world participate in discussions about preserving and protecting the ozone layer.
Small efforts that individuals can make to protect the ozone layer include avoiding using cleaning products that are harmful to the environment, maximising the use of cars, buying local products, and sustaining air conditioners. It is up to us to work together to protect our planet for ourselves and future generations.