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World Ozone Day: Montreal Protocol and the Importance of Ozone Layer Preservation

In the late 1970s, scientists first discovered a hole in the ozone layer, which they eventually linked to ozone-depleting substances

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Russell Chattaraj
Russell Chattaraj
Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

INDIA: Every year on September 16, people worldwide celebrate the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.

The UN established the day in 1994 to spread awareness of the need to safeguard the layer that protects all life on Earth from the Sun’s dangerous UV radiation.

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In the late 1970s, scientists first discovered a hole in the ozone layer, which they eventually linked to ozone-depleting substances. These gases are utilised in refrigeration and air conditioning, two cooling machines.

Although a full-blown crisis was avoided thanks to the Montreal Protocol, the situation is still out of control. According to a study from Lancaster University researchers published in Nature last year, things would have been really bad without ozone protection.

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A 0.5 to 1°C temperature increase would have caused the Earth to practically roast by the end of this century. Climate change will have the advantage it needs to wipe out all life on Earth if the ozone layer is not protected from further deterioration.

Without UV light protection, plants would be unable to absorb carbon dioxide, which would accelerate climate change. Without the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer would have disappeared by 2040, claims the study.

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By the middle of this century, the ozone layer is predicted to return to its pre-1980 levels.

The latest false-color view of total ozone over the Antarctic pole. The purple and blue colors are where there is the least ozone, and the yellows and reds are where there is more ozone.

Greenhouse gases, methyl bromide, methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, and chemical families of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) all contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer (HFCs).

Ozone (a molecule) comprises three oxygen atoms (O3). Ozone molecules naturally create a layer of gas in the upper atmosphere, also referred to as the stratosphere. This layer of gas shields life on Earth by blocking some UV light from the Sun, but not all of it.

Chemical reactions between air pollutants and other emissions in the lower atmosphere, or troposphere, also produce ozone.

While ozone acts as a protection for us in the stratosphere, direct contact with it in the troposphere can be dangerous for plants, animals, and people.

Also Read: India Observes The 27th Global Ozone Day

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  • Russell Chattaraj

    Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

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