World Ozone Day celebrated
The International Day for the preservation of the Ozone Layer was celebrated across the globe this week. Organised by the United Nations Environment Programme, the theme and title of this year’s event was: “Save our Sky – There is a hole lot more to do.”Marco Gonzalez, the executive secretary of the ozone secretariat, urged governments to support the day, which marks the anniversary of the signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987 (see related story). He called on them to organise events that would raise awareness of the effects of increased ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth’s surface as a result of ozone layer depletion.
He praised the response of the international community to the destruction of the ozone layer, saying that the Montreal Protocol, under which the production and use of ozone-depleting substances is to be phased out, is working well. However, he also warned against complacency, reminding countries that the ozone layer above the Antarctic and the Arctic, as well as in the mid-latitudes of both hemispheres of the earth, remains seriously depleted.
Events around the world included seminars, conferences, political speeches, education projects in schools, as well as the distribution of posters and newspaper supplements on ozone protection.
The World Bank said that phasing out ozone depleting substances in developing countries is crucial to the success of the Montreal Protocol, as these now account for 84% of ozone depleting substances consumed globally. The spread of organised events reflected this need, with a majority taking place in the developing world.
However, spokespersons for the UK Environment Agency, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the WWF, told edie that they knew of no events taking place in the UK or Europe.
The day of events comes a week after observations were reported at the British Association Science Festival at Salford University, which indicate that the hole in the ozone layer is now larger than ever. Scientists said that, despite a reduction in ozone depleting substances, levels of CFC in the stratosphere lagged behind surface levels by several years.