International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer or Ozone Day, as it is more commonly known, is celebrated annually on 16th September. The day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994 and is mainly intended to spread awareness of the depletion of the ozone layer and to promote efforts towards ozone layer protection. The ozone layer of our upper atmosphere is a natural sunscreen that protects us from harmful ultraviolet rays. Exposure to the sun’s harmful UV radiation can result in skin cancer and eye cataracts, can harm marine life, ruin crops and even degrade wood, plastic and other construction materials. This year, ozone day will be celebrated under the theme “Ozone and climate: restored by a world united”. The theme is complemented by the tagline, “working towards reducing global-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol”.
The theme was chosen in recognition of over three decades of concerted efforts of parties to the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol towards the restoration of the ozone layer and the global commitment to combat climate change. While the ozone layer is healing itself and is expected to recover by the middle of the century, the elimination of ozone depleting substances has presented an additional challenge for us. This is because the phase-out of ozone depleting substances has led to the increasing use of alternatives with higher global warming potentials such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). This poses a threat to our climate. Parties to the Montreal Protocol have demonstrated their commitment to combating climate change by adopting the “Dubai Pathway of Hydrofluorocarbons” where they agree to work towards adopting an amendment to the Montreal Protocol aimed at reducing the production and consumption of these harmful substances. According to scientific information, fast action under the Montreal Protocol to reduce HFCs could result in the avoidance of 0.4°C of global warming and thus contribute to meeting the ambitious goals set in the Paris Agreement.
In commemoration of Ozone Day 2016, , the Department of Sustainable Development through the Sustainable Development and Environment Division, will host a week of activities from 12th – 16th September 2016. Activities will include the Minister’s Address on Ozone Day, publishing of articles in local newspapers, training of technicians in good refrigeration and air conditioning practices, presentations at selected primary schools, and a sale on recovery and recycling equipment for the refrigeration and air conditioning sector for the month of September.
The Sustainable Development and Environment Division would like to remind the public that every action counts in our fight against ozone depletion and climate change. Purchase ozone and climate friendly products and equipment. Purchase a solar AC Unit instead of a conventional one to gain double benefits. Confirm that you are hiring a Certified Technician to perform repairs on your AC unit, refrigerator or vehicle by checking the ID Card issued by the Division.