September 18, 2020
World Ozone Day 2020
We’re about to commemorate the Montreal Protocol’s 35th anniversary – a global agreement to preserve the ozone layer, and a great reminder that we can overcome even the toughest environmental challenges as long as we work together.
The overuse of ozone-depleting gases, found in aerosol sprays and cooling appliances like air conditioners and refrigerators, caused the ozone layer to start dissipating back in the 1980s. A dissipating ozone layer means weakened protection against harmful rays emanating from the sun.
With this, not only our sunbathing sessions were about to get a lot more dangerous, but even taking a brisk walk outside in broad daylight might have become unadvisable. Fortunately, we listened to our scientists, we made actionable plans, and we prevented that from happening.
World Ozone Day serves as proof that a life in harmony with nature is the way forward and that caring for one another will get us out of even the tightest spots.
It’s no secret we’re living in environmentally challenging times, and that there’s climate work to be done. But, this year, on the 16th of September, let’s pat ourselves on the back for doing a great job in tackling the ozone layer issue.
What is the ozone layer, and why do we need to protect it?
The ozone layer is a protective shield of gases around the Earth, guarding us from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Without the sun, life on Earth would not be possible (at least, not as we know it), but if we were to remove this layer that keeps the harmful rays from reaching us, that same sun would threaten to destroy entire ecosystems.
Exposure to ultraviolet rays brings several health threats, which might even result in cancer or cataracts. It also puts our plants and animals in danger, eventually unbalancing nature’s carefully crafted processes.
In the 1980s, scientists came upon a worrying discovery – our protective shield was thinning, and we needed to do something about it quickly. Spoiler alert, we did, and that’s how World Ozone Day was born!
What is World Ozone Day?
World Ozone Day is a celebration of the global implementation of the Montreal Protocol. Back in 1987, a set of rules was put together to prevent harming the ozone layer and ensuring this protective shield is there to guard the generations to come.
Simply put, the Montreal Protocol identified the substances used in everyday life that were harmful to the ozone layer, such as refrigerators and types of aerosol sprays, and put phase-out plans in action. It was globally agreed to stop using 99% of these harmful substances, and thanks to that, our ozone layer has been healing.
How can we help preserve the ozone layer?
Even though most household items are now free of substances that could harm our ozone layer, we should continue being mindful of the environment around us.
Most of the aerosol sprays available on the market are free of ozone-depleting gases, but they can still contain trace amounts. One way to make sure your favorite aromatherapy session won’t end up contributing to ozone holes is to use essential oils instead of sprays. Essential oils are equally as fragrant, and are known to boost the immune system too!
Another way? Instead of sweating under a thick synthetic comforter with the air conditioner blasting at full force, take a time-out under a breathable weighted blanket.
When air-conditioning is a must, it’s important to service these devices regularly. When air conditioners aren’t routinely serviced, potentially dangerous refrigerants can start leaking.
This week, we can all wholeheartedly celebrate World Ozone Day. As a global society, we managed to reverse the ozone layer’s damage by putting the collective good above everything else. Kudos!
• The ozone layer is a protective shield around the Earth, preventing harmful ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun from reaching us.
• World Ozone Day, celebrated on the 16th of September, commemorates the Montreal Protocol – a global agreement to remove ozone-harming substances from everyday use.
• The best way to make sure the ozone shield is there for many years to come? Refrain from using aerosols and responsibly use air-conditioners.
Did you know?
Without the Montreal Protocol interventions, scientists estimated the world, today, would have been 25% hotter. Next step? Curb global warming.