September 16 is the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, as proclaimed by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in commemoration of the day on which the Montreal Protocol was signed. The objective is to raise awareness of protecting the ozone layer, which is being deteriorated by global warming.
WHAT IS THE OZONE LAYER
The ozone layer is an atmospheric region located in the stratosphere, between 15 and 50 kilometers above sea level, which envelops the planet Earth. It acts as a protective shield against type C ultraviolet radiation and most of the type B ultraviolet radiation, allowing type A radiation to pass through, which is the least harmful of the three. Without the ozone layer, there would be no life as we know it.
The use of certain commonly used chemicals over many years has proved to be very harmful to the ozone layer. This process of destruction of this layer begins with the emission of gases containing mainly chlorine and bromine at the earth’s surface. In particular, Chlorofluorocarbon Compounds (CFCs) and halons are human-made gases that destroy atmospheric ozone.
THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL
Prior to this, the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer was formalized on March 22, 1985. Signed by 28 countries, it was a way to support the scientific community about the veracity of ozone depletion and, in turn, a way to cooperate in taking measures to protect the ozone layer. In September 1987, the Montreal Protocol was drafted, indicating the substances that deplete the ozone layer.
The main objective of this protocol is to take measures to control the global production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances in order to eliminate them. Two of the measures established were the prohibition of the use of Chlorofluorocarbon Compounds (CFCs) and halons in fire extinguishers.
5 TIPS TO PROTECT THE OZONE LAYER
Although the big industry has the greatest impact, we can also join the cause with our actions. Therefore, here are five recommendations to take care of the ozone layer and help preserve it.
1. Reduce vehicle use
Try to use the car less by switching to alternatives such as urban transport, cycling or walking, whenever possible. There is also the possibility of sharing the ride with other people going to the same destination, for example, with colleagues at work. Another option is electric vehicles, which are currently being offered as aids for their purchase.
2. Avoid sprays/aerosols
Aerosols are one of the main causes of the expansion of the ozone hole and have significantly worsened global warming through the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons. Currently, these compounds are being replaced by others that are not harmful to the ozone layer.
3. Avoid the use of methyl bromide
This substance is present in wood treatment products, in warehouses and in agriculture as a fumigant, because it is very effective and has a very low cost. But the disadvantage of this chemical is that it degrades with difficulty and destroys the ozone layer, for this reason, from 1995 to 2001 its use was reduced by 50%, although to date there is no date for its prohibition.
4. Consciousness when cleaning the home
Have you ever stopped to think about what the products we use to do something as mundane as cleaning our house are made of? Some contain solvents and substances that are corrosive to our skin, respiratory tract and the environment. Nowadays there are environmentally friendly cleaning products on the market, even simple alternatives such as vinegar or baking soda can be used.
5. Take care of nature
Trees play a fundamental role in the care of the ozone layer since they have the capacity to absorb CO2, helping the regeneration of this substance and improving the quality of the air we breathe. In addition, they eliminate pollution, which is why they are so suitable in urban areas and, increasingly, more and more cities are becoming aware and are committed to urban green areas. Caring for nature is caring for the lungs of the earth and the trees themselves.
And the most important of all points is to become aware of the importance of the conservation of the ozone layer in our lives and in the life of our home: the planet Earth. Therefore, generating awareness of our surroundings and taking action in decisions such as using energy-saving appliances or light bulbs, using air conditioning in a reasonable way, or buying local products, which have not had to travel long miles to reach your hands, are gestures that make a difference.