The multiple industrial revolutions left behind numerous scars that continue to haunt us to this day. They were deliberate, but they are there anyway. Global warming, climate change, ocean level rise and the one that we are going to talk about today - Ozone layer depletion. When the disastrous damage that humans had inflicted on the environment became clear, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) began identifying these issues and making plans on how to control and reduce the damage. Accordingly, signalling its focus on the Ozone depletion, the UN designated September 16 as the World Ozone Day in 1994. In the paras below we will see what makes this issue and correspondingly September 16 so significant:
It seemed like with progress, came a hefty price. The feats of human beings reached new heights in the 20th century, but it greatly damaged the environment. The emission of CFC (Chloro-Fluoro-Carbon) in particular, caused Ozone depletion. It wasn't until much later it became clear that we needed to manage our industries better and reduce the emissions.
Studying Ozone layer depletion
By 1980s, multiple ‘holes’ or areas or reduced Ozone were identified, out of which the whole above the Antarctic was particularly worrisome as it could cause melting of polar ice. This created an urgent need to identify and prevent the causes. In 1986, the Montreal Protocol came into effect which put a cap on CFC production, with the aim of reducing it in the long term.
Other than UNEP, the rise of various NGOs and other non-profit organisations really helped people understand this problem and help in reducing the emissions. As of today, every major country including India and China has pledged to invest in environment-friendly resources and hopefully we can remedy some of the damage to the Ozone layer in the future.
It is in issues like this that the UN is most effective. The implementation of the Montreal Protocol has been instrumental in fighting the Ozone layer depletion problem. Setting goals, funding programmes, surveying various regions and many more operation undertaken under UNEP have helped us get back on the road and to recover the damage to the Ozone layer.
Developed vs developing
There is often a complaint that the West controls the UN. But in this scenario, it isn’t the case. Nations like India and China have enormous importance owing their size and usage of conventional fuel that they simply cannot be bypassed. The majority of the blame for depletion of Ozone lies on developed nations and they know they need to work with all to find a problem to this solution. As of now though, there has been a steady progress in the UN concerning this issue.
Progress made till date
In a study organised by American Geophysical Union in 2003, it was observed that Ozone layer depletion has slowed down significantly compared to the previous decade and that if we keep on the same path, we may well rectify some of our past mistakes. It has also been said that the gradual healing has begun, signalling the success of our collective efforts.
2050 could probably the year when we would have achieved significant progress in healing up the Ozone layer. A recent report suggests that the hole above the Antarctic would have sufficiently healed up until that year and that the developing nations, which currently are facing severe pollution problems, would have made significant transition towards the eco-friendly resources.
Title image: Redorbit