World Ozone Day 2021: What is Montreal Protocol and why was it chosen as this year’s theme?

World Ozone Day 2021: The International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is the reminder of the Spring of 1975 when the scientists in Antarctica had detected an appalling drop in the Ozone. Check details of the Montreal Agreement and what role it plays to protect the Ozone Layer?

Created On: Sep 16, 2021 10:51 IST
World Ozone Day 2021
World Ozone Day 2021

World Ozone Day 2021: The International Day dedicated for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is observed every year on September 16. The cause might not be visibly relevant but surely cannot be undermined, particularly at the time when the world is facing one of the most catastrophic disasters- COVID-19.

The International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is the reminder of the Spring of 1975 when the scientists in Antarctica had detected an appalling drop in the Ozone concentration.

The discovery was significant enough to wake up the nations around the world regarding the impact of climate change. The Ozone layer which is a fragile shield of gas, protects the Earth from the harmful radiation of the sun, thus helping to preserve life on the planet.

On World Ozone Day 2021, let's have a look at the history and significance of this day and what roles does Montreal Agreement play in keeping the Earth safe.

The International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer: History

After a Montreal Agreement on Substances that deplete the ozone layer was signed by almost every nation in the world in 1987, The United Nations General Assembly in 1994, decided to proclaim September 16 as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer or World Ozone Day.

World Ozone Day: Significance

It is a well-known fact that the ozone layer plays a vital role in the survival of life on the blue planet. As civilization grew with modern technologies and industrialization, the ozone layer, the very thing that was keeping and protecting us from the harmful radiation from the sun rays started depleting.

World Ozone Day or the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is a reminder to preserve that Ozone and a call to make the world realize that climate change is very much ‘real’.

World Ozone Day theme 2021

The theme for World Ozone Day 2021 is ‘Montreal Protocol- Keeping us, our food, and vaccines cool’.

The Montreal Protocol theme has been selected for the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer 2021 for highlighting the long-term results of the 35 years old Montreal Protocol which was the first to be ratified by all the 197 countries of the United Nations.

What is Montreal Protocol?

The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty that was designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of chemicals behind the depleting Ozone layer.

The Montreal Agreement became open for signature on September 16, 1987, and came into force on January 1, 1989.

The principal purpose of the Montreal Agreement is to protect the ozone layer by taking measures to control the global production and the consumption of substances that are able to deplete it. The ultimate objective of the agreement is to eliminate harmful substances on the basis of the development of scientific knowledge and technological information.

Implementation of Montreal Agreement-

The implementation of the Montreal Agreement progressed well in the developed and developing countries.

The phase-out schedule of HCFC was introduced in 1992 for the developed and developing countries, the latter with a freeze in 2015. The final phase-out is in developed countries by 2030 and in developing countries by 2040.

What is Ozone Layer? How is it under threat?

The ozone layer is a fragile shield of gas that protects the Earth from the harmful radiation of sun rays, thus helping to preserve life on the planet.

Ozone is composed of O3 atoms and is a pungent gas with a slightly bluish hue. It is found in the stratosphere.

As electromagnetic radiation of different wavelengths is emitted from the Sun, such as UV-C radiation and the harmful UV-B radiation, the work of the Ozone layer is to shield the earth by absorbing all the harmful radiation.

Ozone layer under threat-

There is a number of commonly used chemicals that have been found to be extremely damaging to the Ozone layer. Halocarbons chemicals and halocarbons containing bromine usually have much higher Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP) than those containing Chlorine.

The man-made chemicals that have provided most of the bromine and chlorine for ozone depletion are methyl chloroform, methyl bromide, and families of chemicals known as Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HFCs).

In 1974, a paper was published highlighting chlorofluorocarbons behind the depletion of the Ozone layer.

Kigali Amendment and India’s ratification

Recently, India following the footsteps of the US and China decided to ratify the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Agreement of 1989. Kigali Amendment to the 1989 Montreal Agreement enables the phase-out of the HFCs.

The Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol, on September 16, 2009, became the first treaties in the history of the United Nations to achieve universal ratification.

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