Keep Cool And Carry On

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The human beings are continuously posing serious challenge to environment by devouring its surrounding at a very fast rate and its live example is Ozone layer depletion. It was reported by Sherry Rowland and Mario Molina in 1974 that man made CFCs are responsible for destruction of ozone layer. In 1985, the Scientists of British Antarctic Survey Joe Farman, Brian Gardiner and Jonathan Shanklin discovered ozone hole over Antarctica. If the pace of environmental degradation will continue unabated  all life forms will fall victim to it as we have no other Earth to live. Therefore, it is need of hour to take more serious steps towards the protection of earth and its climate.

This year the world is commemorating 31st anniversary of "The Montreal Protocol" on substances that deplete the ozone layer which was signed on September 16th 1987 by 24 countries and by the European Economic Community thus this date is celebrated as "International Ozone Day". The Parties to the Montreal Protocol agreed for gradual reduction in the use of CFCs, Halons and other man-made Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS). In September 2007,  the Montreal amendment was signed to phase out Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), these gases are universally used in refrigeration, air- conditioning and foam applications. The global warming potential (GWP) of most commonly used HCFC is nearly 2,000 times than that of carbon dioxide. Developed countries decided to completely phase out HCFCs by 2020 while the developing countries started the process for gradual reduction since 2013 and firm to complete phase out in stepwise manner by 2030. It will help in overcoming the menace of global warming and thus to protect the climate.  The theme of this year is "Keep cool and carry on The Montreal Protocol" has two significance, it appeals for everyone to protect the ozone layer by phasing out nearly 100% of ODS and to keep our planet cool by combating potent global-warming gases.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) were introduced as a alternatives to CFCs and HCFCs but owing to their very high GWPs an urgent action is required to curb global warming. The Parties to the Montreal Protocol at their 28th Meeting on 15th October 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda agreed to completely phase out HFCs. So far 42 countries ratified Kigali Amendment.

 

Ozone is a triatomic form of Oxygen (O3) found in earth's upper (stratosphere) and lower (troposphere)  atmosphere. In stratosphere, it is considered as good Ozone it protect the living organism by absorbing harmful UV from the sun. In troposphere, the Ozone if present is considered as pollutant produced by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) to form Photochemical Smog. It can trigger a variety of health problems, mostly in children, elderly and those people who are suffering from lung diseases such as asthma. It is also very damaging to green vegetation.

Ozone hole was first measured by a satellite borne instrument known as "Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS). The level of Ozone concentration is measured in Dobson Unit (DU). One DU is 0.01 mm thickness at STP (standard temperature and pressure). The average amount of ozone in stratosphere is about 300 Dobson Units, equivalent to a layer of 3 millimeters (0.12 inches) thickness. Ozone “Hole” is an area where the ozone concentration is less than 100 DU. "Dobson Unit" is named after Professor G.M.B. Dobson.  

Guidelines are being developed for financing the phase-down of HFCs so that the Kigali Amendment will enter into force on 1st January 2019. A  licencing systems for Import and export of HFCs will be introduced by 2019 for both Article 5 and non-Article 5 countries. Article 5 countries are developing countries whose annual per capita consumption and production of ODS is less than 0.3 kg and non-Article 5 countries are developed countries. A complete ban on HFCs trade is proposed with Parties that have not ratified the Amendment  from 1st January 2033.

 

Being a responsible person it is our duty to make conscious decisions for pollution free environment by taking small steps in daily life like car-pooling, keeping engine in good condition, using public transport, prevent  burning of disposable paper, plastics and agricultural waste, compressor of air conditioners and refrigerators must be routinely checked. By expansion of green cover, using technological innovations, reducing our energy consumption and more dependence on eco-friendly renewable energy, we will definitely be able to cut our carbon footprints which is vital obligation to check environmental degradation.

Late Kofi Annan said in 2003 that  "Perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date has been the Montreal Protocol".  At a time where other protocols and negotiations regarding environment have failed to make a common consensus, the Montreal Protocol stood firm to conceive universally acceptable International agreement for the betterment of all life forms present on earth. This protocol paved a way towards success in achieving recovery of ozone layer to 1980 level by mid-century and about 2 million cases of skin cancer may be prevented each year by 2030. These effective steps proved that Montreal Protocol cultivated an atmosphere of understanding and worldwide acceptance with encouraging result of healing of ozone hole. So, It is time to keep cool and carry on celebration for success of Montreal Protocol.

OZONE TIMELINE

1974 

 

Sherry Rowland and Mario Molina discovered that human-generated CFCs are harming the ozone layer.

1985

 

Antarctic ozone hole discovered by scientists of British Antarctic Survey.

Vienna Convention was signed for the protection of the ozone layer.

1986

Montreal Protocol adopted : CFCs phase down 1986 levels by 20% by 1994; 50% by 1999.

1988

Vienna Convention enters into force on 22 September 1988.

1989

Montreal Protocol came into force on 1st January 1989.

1990

 

London Amendment: complete ban on production and consumption of CFCs, halons, carbon tetrachloride by 2000.

1992

Copenhagen Amendment: gradual phase down of ozone depleting substances.

1994

September 16 proclaimed as International Ozone Day by UN General Assembly since 1995.

Developed countries phase out Halons , followed by developing countries in 2010.

1995

 

Sherwood Rowland, Mario Molina and Paul Crutzen awarded by Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work on ozone depletion.

1996 

 

Vienna adjustments on Montreal Protocol agreed in 1995 at the seventh meeting of the parties and in 1996 entered into force.

Production and consumption of CFCs phased out by developed and developing countries by 2010.

2002 

Beijing Amendment enters into force: complete ban of HCFC production by 2003.

2003

Montreal Protocol admired by Late Kofi Annan the former United Nations Secretary-General.

2005

 

Methyl Bromide was phased out by developed countries  followed by developing countries by 2015.

2006

Largest Antarctic ozone hole of averaging 26.6 million square kilometers was recorded.

2007

 

Developing countries agreed to accelerate the phase out of HCFC.

2009

 

Universal ratification achieved by Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol.

Montreal Protocol success was elaborated by a scientific article that more than 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions to release in the atmosphere prevented, thus made significant contribution to climate change mitigation.

2010

 

All parties phase out CFCs, Halons, carbon tetrachloride and hydrogenated ODSs.

2013

 

Skin Cancer prevention documented in  the Photochemistry and Photobiology journal that by 2030, two million cases of skin cancer have been prevented annually, which is 14% fewer skin cancer cases per year.

Developing countries stopped the production and consumption  of HCFCs.

2014

 

All four protocol amendments universally ratified by 197 Parties.

The scientific assessment by World Meteorological Organization affirmed that the ozone layer is healing and will return to pre-1980 levels by mid-century.

2015

 

Developing countries phased out methyl chloroform, production and consumption of HCFCs reduce by 10 %.

In Dubai parties to the Montreal Protocol agreed to phase down HFCs.

2016

 

Kigali Amendment adopted to phase down the consumption and production of HFCs.

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