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Ozone: Our Planet’s Sunscreen

Did you know that this year we celebrate 35 years of the global Ozone layer protection?! Yes, in 1985, the Vienna Convention was adopted by 28 countries for the Protection of the Ozone Layer.

The ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the rays of the sun, thus helping preserve life on the planet. When scientists working in the late 1970s discovered that humanity was creating a hole in this protective shield, they raised the alarm. The hole – caused by Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODSs) used in aerosols and cooling, such as refrigerators and air-conditioners – was threatening to increase cases of skin cancer and cataracts, and damage plants, crops, and ecosystems.

World Ozone Day, celebrated every year on September 16th, is the perfect day to remind ourselves that not only is ozone crucial for life on Earth, but that we must continue to protect the ozone layer for future generations. Let’s learn more about the ozone in this latest edition of Wisdom Nuggets!

“Let us take encouragement from how we have worked together to preserve the ozone layer and apply the same will to healing the planet and forging a brighter and more equitable future for all humanity”, António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations.

Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is healing and expected to return to pre-1980 values by mid-century.  Click here to read all about the history of Ozone day, Ozone treaties and impact of Hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs)

Watch this video and get inspired as we celebrate World Ozone Day together.

Get creative and link the environmental education with your favorite subject in the curriculum!

  1. Language – The advancement of science nad technology has its own pros and cons, E.g. the invention of fridge, while it has made our life easier, it has also led to release of CFCs that harm the Ozone Layer & in turn, our health. Organize a debate in your classroom, for and against the topic, “Technological advancements and their impact on environment and humans”.

  1. Social Studies – The Montreal Protocol has been a historical step in the direction of protecting the ozone layer. List down the key points of the treaty and state its effectiveness.
  1. Math – The levels of CFC concentration in the atmosphere had been reducing till 2012, post which there has been a steady increase in in the levels as opposed to the projected decline (refer to the graph below).

Plot on a graph your projections for the same (Time in years on X-Axis and % of CFC on Y-Axis) in the next 20 years and share it with your class. Justify your projections to the class.

  1. Science – In the table given below, list down as many ODS’ as you can, their sources and possible substitutes (Ozone Depletion Substances Substitutes). The 1st one has been filled for your reference.
S. No.ODSSourceSubstitute

Ozone is a gas made up of three oxygen atoms (O3). It occurs naturally in small amounts in the upper atmosphere ; the stratosphere. Ozone protects life on Earth from the Sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

In the lower atmosphere ; the troposphere near the Earth’s surface, ozone is created by chemical reactions between air pollutants from vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and other emissions. At ground level, high concentrations of ozone are toxic to people, plants and animals.

Here is the list of easy actions you can take to help protect the ozone layer:

  1. Minimize the use of cars- The best transport option is urban, bicycle, or walking. If you use a car to a destination, try to carpool with others to decrease the use of cars in order to pollute less and save.
  2. Maintain air conditioners- as their malfunctions cause CFCs to escape into the atmosphere.
  3. Do not use cleaning products that are harmful to the environment and to us- Many cleaning products contain solvents and substances corrosive. You can replace these dangerous substances with non-toxic products such as vinegar or bicarbonate.

This World Ozone Day let’s learn a fun filled DIY Activity! Here is your chance to unleash your creativity and imagination. Design one logo for “CFC-Free” and “Ozone-friendly” product.

You can either draw or digitally design your logo and send them to us at oneplanetacademy@wwfindia.net Best entries to be displayed on our social media.

Let’s take this pop quiz and test your knowledge about the fragile shield of Earth!