Preserving the ozone for a safer planet
November 28, 2022
As the world strives to achieve a more greener and sustainable environment, preservation of the globe is more pressing now than ever. This is due to the alarming rate of global warming as a result of the depletion of the Ozone layer. The Ozone layer which is the region of high ozone concentration in the stratosphere above the earth surface, acts as a blanket to protect the earth and its constituents from harmful radiation from the sun. It is worth acknowledging that, the depletion is basically caused by the emissions from man-made chemicals such as Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), Holons, Methyl bromide among others, which are mostly meant to provide comfort to human. Despite the obvious and harsh effects of the depletion, human activities continue to affect the ozone layer. This therefore means that the silent depletion of this layer with its dire consequences on all lives on earth in areas such as health, agriculture, manufacturing, transport, construction, require urgent and more ambiguous actions to halt the trend.
In addressing the issue, global efforts such as the adoption of the first international environmental treaties universally endorsed by 198 nations; the Vienna Convention for the protection of the Ozone Layer in 1985, followed by the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1987 with its amendments, create a global framework for protecting the ozone and climate. Through this Protocol, there was the need to declare an action to preserve the Ozone layer. This resulted in the designation of the World Ozone Day by the UN General Assembly in 1994.
The World Ozone Day, also known as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, is commemorated on every 16 September. This celebration, aside creating awareness on the importance and effects of the depletion of the layer, it also calls for urgent action in addressing the menace. With the theme “Montreal Protocol@35: global cooperation protecting life on earth”, for the 2022 celebration, reiterates the need for collective efforts in this direction. It therefore recognises the wider impact the Montreal Protocol has on the Ozone layer and the need to act in collaboration, forge partnerships and develop global cooperation to address climate challenges and protect life on earth for future generations.
Ghana became a party to the Protocol in 1989 and since 1994, has actively joined the global call to halt the ozone depletion. The country takes the opportunity to sensitize the general public especially, students as agents of change, on the phenomenon. Students from different levels of education; basic to tertiary levels are being conscientized and capacitated on the need and the required activities to preserve the ozone layer. This is to ensure continuous awareness creation through workshops and media engagements.
As part of the efforts to support global actions aside the observation of the Day, the country with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), continue to roll-out developmental interventions. These include strengthening the capacity of policy makers, technicians and practitioners in the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (RAC) sector on best practices and technologies to minimize emissions from the sector; provision of standard and improved equipment; strengthening of surveillance at the entry points of the country to restrict the importation of Ozone Depleting refrigerants and other chemicals into the country, promotion of energy efficiency standards and regulations; and the establishment of refrigeration centers of excellence to enhance both formal and informal education in ensuring continuous education in the RAC sector. Ensuring sustainable energy transition as part of the outcomes for Ghana’s updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) is a recognition of the country’s ambitious participation in global efforts in cooling the planet.
It is evident that a number of actions, programmes and policies are being rolled out either collectively or individually to preserve the ozone, the 2022 World Ozone Day, therefore calls for deeper collaboration and partnership across the globe to ensure faster, sustainable and comprehensive drive in preserving the environment. According to the UN Secretary General’s statement on the World Ozone Day, “the Montreal Protocol and the Kigali Amendment show us that by acting together, anything is possible. So let us act now to slow climate change, feed the world’s hungry and protect the planet that we all depend on”, Antonio Guterres.
By Akosua Bireduaa Aninakwa, Project Administrative Officer, UNDP Ghana
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