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Int'l Ozone Day Towards Greater Ambition On Cooling

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Prof. Dr. Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumder :
The ozone layer, first discovered in 1930 by two French physicists Charles Fabry and Henri Buisson, is a layer of earth's atmosphere that has relatively high levels of ozone gas. This layer is mainly located in the lower part of the stratosphere. The thickness of this layer depends on locations and seasons. Stratosphere consists of 90 per cent of the atmosphere. Scientific studies have shown that the presence of increasing chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs in the atmosphere is rapidly eroding the ozone layer. The depletion of Ozone layer has a profound negative effect on animal and plants since it allows the ultraviolet ray to enter the earth's atmosphere.
September 16 is the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer 2020 or simply the International Ozone Day. Unified efforts are being made to maintain the ozone level and in this goal, the first attempt was the Vienna Convention held on 22 March 1985 in Austria. Every year the day is celebrated to create public awareness through various programmes focusing on a specified theme. Most of the countries signed in Montreal Protocol held in 1987 to reduce the ozone-depleting gases which came into force since 1st January 1984. Bangladesh is also a signatory of this treaty since 1990 and working with the global community activity.
Depletion of the ozone layer can lead to genetic mutation of the human body, skin cancer, early aging, eye problems like cataracts, and harmful diseases that damage the body's regular immune system. In addition, UV rays affect the actual growth of plants, cause to leaf fallen disease, genetic mutation as well as intake of nutrients and their transport. At the same time, it also has an intimate relationship with climate change having a bad impact on the marine environment.
Ozone-layer Depletion is also increasing the greenhouse effect. Increasing technologies and modern science inventions are improving the comfort of living but at the same time, these technological advancements are contributing to the rise in temperature and greenhouse gases. Due to excessive use of fossil fuel, (coal, petroleum etc.) in the industries and factories, the carbon dioxide, along with other greenhouse gases emitted in the environment, is increasingly getting trapped inside the atmosphere. Sun is the main source of energy. The heat comes in the form of wavelength of sunlight, and after it's absorption by the living and the non-living entities in the earth, the rest of the energy is reflected back. But instead of leaving, the energy gets trapped inside greenhouse gases eventually increasing the temperature of the earth and this is known as Global Warming.
Earth's ozone layer is healing, after Covid-19 decreases pollutions rate and that really contribute to healing ozone layer. Some expert says that the coronavirus outbreak fastens the recovery of the Ozone layer by decreasing the pollution. A report from the United Nations says that the hole in the ozone layer could be totally healed by the 2060. In some areas of the world, it could be as soon as 2030.
Bangladesh also decided to work together with the world to protect the ozone layer and restore the balance of the environment. Thus, Bangladesh signed the Montreal Protocol in 1990. The Montreal Protocol is a worldwide agreement that was finalized in 1987, which aims to protect the stratospheric ozone layer by measuring the production of ozone-depleting substances (ODS). The hole of the Antarctica region is replenished again. As a result, the theme of International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, 2020 has been titled as "'Ozone for life'.
In Bangladesh Ozone depleting substances, all imported gases, were used in pharmaceutical, refrigeration, air-conditioning, readymade garments and aerosol manufacturing industries. As a signatory of Montreal Protocol, a global deal to phase out ODS, Bangladesh along with other developing countries cannot import and use of any kind of ODS gases of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) group, carbon tetrachloride and methyl chloroform after December 2009 except for essential uses.
Bangladesh was the first among the developing countries that had completely phased out hydrochlorofluorocarbon-141b gas from the foam sector of the refrigerator assembling industries. More than 23 lakh CFC emitting refrigerators were being used in the country at household and commercial levels during 2002 when government trying to phasing out ODS. With almost 8.2% GDP growth, Bangladesh is experiencing increasing demand for appliances having ODS in air conditioners and refrigerators. Despite the challenges of this increasing demand, Bangladesh did and doing well in the phase out activities of ozone depleting substances and one of the most successful countries.
The phase-out of controlled uses of ozone depleting substances and the related reductions have not only helped protect the ozone layer for this and future generations, but have also contributed significantly to global efforts to address climate change; furthermore, it has protected human health and ecosystems by limiting the harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the earth. Let this International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is an inspiration towards greater ambition on cooling, at the Climate Action.

(Professor Kamruzzaman Majumder is Dean, Faculty of Science, Chairman, Department of Environmental Science, Stamford University Bangladesh. E-mail: kamrul_sub@hotmail.com).

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