International Day for preservation of the Ozone layer has been celebrated on 16th of September, since 1994 and was established by the United Nations General Assembly to commemorate the date of signing the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone layer. The day is mainly intended to spread awareness of the depletion of the Ozone Layer and search for solutions to preserve it. It is celebrated all around the world and on this day, educators take voluntary efforts to spread the awareness of the dangerous impact of the Ozone layer depletion.
The theme for this year?s event is ?Ozone Layer Protection: The Mission Goes On?.
A British physicist Sydney Chapman discovered the ozone layer in the year 1930. The stratosphere of the Earth is created by the UV rays striking the oxygen molecules present around the earth and forms the ozone which is a combination of the oxygen atoms (o2) and an atom of the atomic oxygen (o3). This process is called as the ozone-oxygen cycle. The ozone layer found in the stratosphere protects the Earth by filtering the UV rays entering into the troposphere of the Earth which is being emitted from the Sun.
In the year 1985, Scientists noticed the thinning of the ozone layer in the Antarctic region during the spring seasons. This was termed as the ozone hole. This was larger in the South poles and smaller in the North poles which were found to consistently reduce the total ozone layer of the planet.
Ozone layer depletion brings lot of harmful impacts for the life that sustains on Earth. The UV rays from the Sun will directly fall on the Earth?s surface which can lead various skin problems. Overexposure to these harmful rays can lead to skin cancer. It can also weaken the immune system of living beings. The rays can also harm the eyes which can lead to cataracts. These UV rays are also dangerous for our eyes and could cause an increase in people becoming blind.
Besides the impact on human beings, these UV rays are a threat to plants and animals too. They can destroy aquatic life by killing small water animals or plants, called ‘planktons’ which form the base of the food chain in oceans and seas. Large amounts of UV rays could damage all green plants. If the ozone layer keeps getting thinner, there could be fewer and fewer plants on Earth, and then there would be less food in the whole world.
Ozone found between 19 and 30 kilometres high in the atmosphere is one of the reasons why we are alive on Earth. But when the gas ozone is found lower down where we can breathe it in, it becomes very dangerous for our health. This ozone is caused by a reaction between air pollution and sunlight and can cause modern-day smog. This is different to the smog that formed in the early 20th century from smoke and fog.