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How important is the Ozone layer? Well, the life on earth depends on it...

By Vishal S
Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, Sep 16: Ozone layers blocks harmful UV rays from the sun and protects biological processes on the earth which are essential for sustenance of life. If not blocked by Ozone layer, exposure to ultraviolet radiation can increase the risk of cataracts, skin cancer and other detrimental effects among humans.

Today is the World Ozone Day which commemorates the date of the signing of the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer in 1987. The theme of this year's World Ozone Day is "32 Years and Healing". Since 1995, International Ozone Day is observed on 16 September annually.

Representational Image

[Ozone hole is big, but smaller than expected: NASA report][Ozone hole is big, but smaller than expected: NASA report]

The good news about the Ozone layer which had once begun to deplete is this. The latest Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion completed in 2018, shows that, as a result, parts of the ozone layer have recovered at a rate of 1-3% per decade since 2000. At projected rates, Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone will heal completely by the 2030s. The Southern Hemisphere will follow in the 2050s and Polar Regions by 2060.

What's harmful for Ozone Layer?

Certain industrial processes and consumer products result in the emission of ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) to the atmosphere. The main ODS are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform and halons (brominated fluorocarbons). CFCs are the most widely used ODS, accounting for over 80 per cent of total stratospheric ozone depletion, says a report published in www.thesangaiexpress.com.

What is the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol?

The Kigali Amendment requires Parties to put into place an import and export licensing system for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 1st January 2019 (or two years later if required). To enable a licensing system to function effectively, it is important that the government is able to monitor and record imports and exports of each specific HFC individually. Import and export statistics are normally collected by customs officers using the international product nomenclature system - the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, or Harmonized System (HS).

[World Environment Day 2018: Are we doing enough to conserve nature?][World Environment Day 2018: Are we doing enough to conserve nature?]

However, until the HS is revised in 2022, all HFCs are contained in a single HS code which does not allow differentiation of the individual chemicals or of mixtures. This document outlines a proactive interim approach, recommended by the World Customs Organization (WCO), to establish additional digits in the existing national HS codes to identify specific HFCs, according to www.unenvironment.org.

Conclusion: Importance of Ozone

The ozone layer or ozone shield is a region of Earth's stratosphere that absorbs most of the Sun's ultraviolet radiation. It contains high concentrations of ozone (O3) in relation to other parts of the atmosphere. The ozone layer absorbs 97 to 99 percent of the Sun's medium-frequency ultraviolet light, which otherwise would potentially damage exposed life forms near the surface. Thinning of the ozone layer means increased skin related diseases. In recent decades, because of the release of large quantities of man-made organohalogencompounds, especially chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and bromofluorocarbons, the ozone layer is depleting. If earth loses the protection of ozone layer, then life on the planet will be at great risk.

Nature is undoubtedly God's greatest gift to the mankind. The air that we breathe, the food we eat and water we drink, all these come from nature. Even when we want to escape from humdrum of daily life, we like going to mountains, forests or in general closer to nature. The very fact that we using the expression 'closer to nature' makes it clear that we have over the years come far from it.

Technology has definitely changed the way we lead our lives compared to our ancestors, but it cannot be denied that this very technology has brought us away from nature, the place where we truly belong. Surrounded by the concrete jungle, we often forget that life would not have been possible on earth without nature which allows biological processes to thrive.

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