What is the ozone layer?
The sun beams out rays of light, some of which can be harmful to life on earth. The ozone layer is a "shield" of gas which protects the Earth from some of these rays, helping to preserve life on the planet. International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer aims to raise awareness and encourage people to take action on any future challenges which may face the ozone layer.
What causes ozone layer depletion? What can people do?
Certain gases are responsible for causing damage to the ozone layer. Some very reactive molecules in supposedly "harmless" gases can react with the ozone layer and cause "holes" - these holes mean that the harmful rays from the sun are not shielded from reaching the earth.
The gases which cause ozone layer depletion come from a variety of sources. These include old aerosol gases (which are no longer used), gases used in refrigerators and air conditioners, gas bubbles inside home insulation foam.
●Make sure that old refrigerators and air conditioners are disposed of safely by giving them to a recycling yard. Take care not to damage the cooling circuit which contains the ozone depleting substances (ODS);
●Ensure technicians repairing your refrigerator or air conditioner recover and recycle the old ODS so they are not released into the atmosphere;
●When renovating your house, make sure that old insulation foams containing ODS are disposed of as environmentally hazardous waste;
●Inform yourself about ozone depletion through further reading, and suggest activities at your children's school to increase awareness of the problem and initiate local action.
What events are going on?
In 2014 the theme was "Ozone layer protection: the mission goes on", with the underlying message being that ODS in the atmosphere were declining and the ozone layer is expected to recover in the middle of this century.
2015 is the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer - and stakeholders are being encouraged to redouble their efforts in preserving the ozone layer, to avoid further damage to crops, wildlife and materials.
Take a look at the UN's ozone day web site for ideas on how to get involved! http://www.un.org/en/events/ozoneday/