Preservation of the Ozone layer; Our Score Card

16th September is marked yearly as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, it is a day set aside to commemorate the signed Montreal Protocol in 1987 on substance that depletes the Ozone layer. 

Preservation of the Ozone layer; Our Score Card

This year, 2017, marks 30 years after this ideal agreement between nations was signed on protocol of substance that deplete the ozone layer with a goal to slash the production and use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substance. 

However, it is important that we assess our global performance and contributions to mitigating the effects and causes of ozone layer depletion.

By way of definition, Ozone layer is a delicate shield of gas that protects the earth from the harmful portions of sun rays, thus covering the earth from the impacts of direct sun light that adversely heat/warm up the ground, water body and vegetation that perhaps cause changes on the climate and weather conditions.

Globally, some inventions brought comfort and convenience to many, but the substances they run on are rather unsuitable to the ozone layer ripping holes and allowing harmful ultraviolet radiation to surge through and threaten our environment, our economies, human and animal existences.

Taking a closer look at some equipment and substances used in Nigeria, it is sad to note that the use of Ozone Depleting Substance (ODS) is yet to be eradicated, with the use of equipment that contains halons, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) as perhaps seen in some fire extinguishing agents, most old model refrigerants in domestic air-conditioners and refrigerators.

Preservation of the Ozone layer; Our Score CardEven in some manufacturing industries some plastics may be shaped using CFC in production of cups, cartons, foams, automobiles and solvents for cleaning textile or electronics. Hence reports from the 8th edition of the Ozone Secretariat United Nations Environment Programme in 2009; decisions were made on Nigeria’s non-compliance as it was noted that CFC consumption was above its baseline, and was therefore in a state of potential non-compliance as Nigeria’s baseline for Group 1 substances is 3,650 ODP-tonnes in 2001.

Thrillingly, Nigeria expressed concerns and submitted a plan of action with time-specific benchmarks to ensure a prompt return to compliance. According to the action plan Nigeria is expected to phase out CFC consumption and ban imports of ODS-using equipment by January 1 2010 but we could look around today to observe and note the changes if any.

Unfortunately, world leaders have taken ambivalent decisions and stands on the subject and this further encourages the threats to the ozone layer with most nations housing industries and organizations that burn fossil fuel emitting toxic substance that increase Carbon dioxide (CO2) with no adequate plans to sequestrate carbon or reduce its effects with our forest heavily fallen. Regrettably, many nations have felt adverse impacts of this depletion through destruction of vegetation, environment and loss of lives, as hurricanes, mudslides and earthquakes are threatening in many areas. In 2006, during the Bush administration, the US government sought over $100 billion for repairs and reconstruction in regions affected by Hurricane Katrina, the damages hit the economy causing an interruption on exports of commodities and oil supply resulting to the loss of jobs leaving many unemployed and destroying many farms and businesses. In developing countries the impacts are worst felt to increased diseases, economic loss, high women and child mortality.

With the recent climate challenges faced globally, it is important that nation leaders and governments come together to agree on best industrial practices to mitigate and reduce the further burning of fossil fuel and also fund and support research works by giving grants, awards, donations, scholarships and endowments to research institutions and nature conservation organizations to  promote environmental advocacy.

World leaders should take concise action for the benefit of posterity not minding where these decisions are made whether in France, America, or Sierra Leone, the importance is to advocate and enforce a global sustainable environmental policies. Now is the time to adopt a sustainable lifestyle, always bearing in mind the reality, that our individual actions as harmless as they seem could have perilous global upshot. 

Written by Udo-Azugo Somtochukwu from Lagos, Nigeria, Editing by Adebote 'Seyifunmi 

No comments