The Almighty Allah has blessed all living organisms’ with immense blessings for their survival like the sun, the earth, water, the ozone layer etc. Without these blessings, the existence of living organisms is impossible. The Almighty Allah says in the holy Quran that there is no imperfection in the creation of the Almighty Allah. He has created the universe with complete perfection and has set up the complete balance in the universe. The sun and the moon run their appointed courses. The revolution and rotation of the earth is precise with cent percent accuracy. The Almighty Allah says in the holy Quran so which of the favours of your Lord would you deny? Every year, September 16th is celebrated as the World Ozone Day as it commemorates the day on which Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer was signed in 1987 and came into force in January 1989. The main aim of the celebration of world ozone day is to aware and educate people of the world about the importance of the ozone layer and its protection from depletion for the welfare of all living flora and fauna. The theme for the 2022 international day for the preservation of the ozone layer is ‘Global Cooperation Protecting Life on the Earth’. The theme is decided to save the life of people on the mother earth by preserving the ozone layer from depletion. World Ozone Day provides an opportunity to focus global attention and action on vital environmental issues. Ozone layer is one of the important blessings of the Almighty Allah. It is a protective layer of ozone gas present in the stratosphere. Ozone layer acts as a shield/ blanket that protects all living organisms from harmful effects of ultraviolet radiations. It absorbs 90-97% of harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Without a protective ozone layer blanket in the stratosphere, the survival of all living flora and fauna would become almost impossible. Ozone present in the stratosphere is called good ozone as it protects living organisms from harmful effects of UV rays and absorption of harmful ultraviolet radiations by the ozone layer is directly proportional to its thickness. Ozone present in the troposphere or ground level is called the bad ozone or ground level ozone due to a key component of air pollution. Bad ozone is a greenhouse gas and also a secondary air pollutant. It is harmful for living organisms as it causes respiratory disease. Ozone is a molecule formed of three oxygen atoms in the troposphere by a photochemical reaction and once ozone is formed in troposphere, it moves upward towards the stratosphere and adds to the ozone layer called ozonosphere in the stratosphere. The thickness of the ozone layer is measured in Dobson units (DU) and one Dobson unit is equal to 0.1mm thickness. Dobson Spectrometer is an instrument that is used to measure the thickness of ozone. The thickness of ozone is more above the poles than at the equator. The concentration of ozone in the stratosphere changes with seasons. Ozone layer thickness is maximum during February to April (spring) and minimum during July to October (fall season). The chemical compounds or substances that cause depletion of the ozone layer are called ozone-depleting substances. The ozone depleting substances are Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), Methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, Methane, Nitrous oxide, halons etc. Chlorofluorocarbons are the main ozone depleting substances responsible for ozone destruction called ozonolysis. The other ozone depleting substances (ODS) are also responsible for ozone destruction through complicated series of reactions. Ozone depleting substances (ODS) are used as coolants in refrigerators, and air conditioners. Chlorofluorocarbons when released from refrigerators and air conditioners into the air, they reach the stratosphere and stay there for more than hundred years. During the said period, chlorofluorocarbons produce active chlorine (Cl and ClO radicals) in presence of ultraviolet radiation that causes much destruction of the ozone layer. It is pertinent that one chlorine atom from one mole of chlorofluorocarbon destroys one-lakh molecules of ozone in the stratosphere and every year, tonnes of ozone depleting substances are released and get into the stratosphere. Decline in thickness of ozone layer called Ozone hole that was first discovered over Antarctica in 1985. Environmental conditions prevailing in Antarctica during winter months are conducive for ozone whole formation.
According to recent findings of the study, the Antarctic Ozone hole is recovering due to long-term decrease of ozone depleting substances. Ozone layer depletion increases the amount of ultraviolet radiations to the earth’s surface that prove very harmful for all living organisms like human beings, plants, marine organisms etc. It increases the risk of cataract in eyes, permanent blindness, sunburn, skin cancer, mutations, and disturbs ecological balance in nature. It decreases immunity in living organisms, and increases susceptibility to other infections. Ultra violet radiations affect biogeochemical cycles in the environment and cause damage to early developmental stages of fish, shrimp, crab and other marine animals. Ultra violet radiations inhibit photosynthesis in plants that increase carbon dioxide concentration that is a main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. In order to regulate the production and consumption of man-made chemicals called ozone depleting substances (ODS), the first multilateral environmental treaty or agreement called Montreal protocol was signed in 1985 and it was ratified in 1989. The treaty is considered the greatest environmental success story in the history of the United Nations. In 1989, the Helsinki Declaration was signed in which the majority of nations pledged to phase out chlorofluorocarbons by the year 2000. The Vienna convention was adopted in 1985 for the protection of the ozone layer. Besides, adoption of the Kigali agreement amendment to Montreal Protocol stressed the phase down production and consumption of some hydro chlorofluoro carbons. The Green climate fund was formed by the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) in 2011 in Durban, South Africa and the main aim of the fund is to raise funds for investing in low emissions and climate resilient projects. Global phase out of ozone depleting substances like chlorofluorocarbons in the world played a significant role in reduction of ozone layer depletion and preservation of ozone layer. Ozone layer depletion is a serious global issue. Ozone layer destruction can be prevented and preserved in many ways. Education and awareness among people about the importance of ozone layer through seminars, debates, discussions etc. is the most important tool that helps to preserve the protective layer of ozone. Planting more and more trees by the people through aforestation and reforestation programs help in increasing the thickness of the ozone layer. Use of chemical compounds that are alternative to ozone depleting substances can curb ozone layer depletion. Implementation of Montreal Protocol provisions, creation of green climate fund, enacting stringent ozone layer protection laws and their proper implementation in every nook and corner of countries can preserve and protect the ozone layer from destruction. Creation of ozone cells in every state in phase out of production and consumption of ozone depleting substances. Reducing the use of ozone depleting substances, and limiting the use of traditional vehicles and switching over to vehicles running on alternative sources of energy can also protect and preserve the ozone layer. Let us pledge on today’s world ozone day to protect and preserve the protective layer of ozone for the existence of all living organisms.
(The author is a teacher at Govt Boys Higher Secondary School Beerwah. Views are his own)