All About Ozone Day
For more than a decade, September 16th every year has been designated as International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.
The date was chosen to mark the signing of the original Montreal Protocol on ozone depleting substances, and a variety of events take place each year in many different countries.
Annual ThemeGovernments are invited to mark the day by organising events and awareness raising initiatives, and the United Nations Environment Programme provides resources, such as posters, banners and films, which can be downloaded from the internet.
Every year, Ozone Day has a different theme. In 2007, which marked the 20th anniversary of the protocol, the theme was Celebrating 20 Years of Progress, in 2008, the theme was Montreal Protoco: Global Partnership for Global Benefits, while in 2010 the theme was Ozone Layer Protection: Governance and Compliance at their Best.
Each year, the strength of the protocol agreement becomes stronger – both by additional actions introduced by the United Nations and the signing up of new counties. By the time the 20th anniversary of the protocol took place in 2007, a total of 191 countries had signed up to it.
When the anniversary was celebrated, figures from the United Nations Environment Programme showed that the use of ozone depleting substances covered by the protocol had been almost totally phased out in the developed world, and their use in the developing world had dropped by almost 80 per cent.
Around The WorldTo mark Ozone Day, some countries produce educational packs for use in schools to spread the message about protection of the ozone layer, while others have parties and celebrations.
Awareness-raising activities from other countries in the past have included the issue of special stamps and TV adverts, and an increasing number of countries now take part. In 2008, for example, Malaysia officially marked the date for the first time and had its own theme – Save the Ozone Layer – Save Our Children.
Family AffairFree family events were organised to mark the occasion and publicity about the ozone layer was produced for educational use.
In 2008, the executive secretary of the Ozone Secretariat wrote to countries involved in the Montreal Protocol to invite them to celebrate Ozone Day. He said the protocol has so far reduced ozone depleting substances by more than 95%, helping to protect the Ozone Layer for the benefit of future generations.
Calendar DateUnfortunately, although the date of Ozone Day appears in the calendar of environmental organisations in the UK, no major events have been publicised to date to mark Ozone Day in Britain.
This contrasts starkly with many poorer or smaller countries, such as Serbia (population around 10.5million) where activities are organised. In 2008, a Serbian newspaper even devoted eight full pages to coverage of Ozone Day.
“Bad” OzoneIn the USA, in addition to International Ozone Day, many states or cities organise a number of Ozone Action Days during the summer when they encourage people to do their bit to limit “bad” ozone – ozone at ground level which is a pollutant and can cause health problems.
Householders and drivers are given advice to help them to reduce the amount of ozone being produced.