ISLAMABAD: Expert urged the global community on Thursday to take all-out measures to substantially mitigate climate-altering and ozone layer depleting emissions of carbon gases.
“Our use of ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) had torn a hole in the ozone layer that protects us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. But the challenge has been tackled and the ozone layer, which had depleted dangerously has restored thanks to global cooperation in combating it,” said Dr. Qamar uz Zaman Chaudhry, imminent climate scientist and former director-general of the Pakistan Meteorological Department, during his keynote address at a seminar held here.
Nevertheless, continuous and strenuous efforts would be required to make our earth Ozone-friendly completely, he emphasized. The event was organised by the Ministry of Climate Change in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and Multilateral Funds Secretariat (MLFS) in connection with the United Nations’ ‘International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer under the slogan ‘‘Ozone: All there is between you and UV’.
The day is observed throughout the world on September 16 every year since 1995, when it was declared the International Day by the United Nations General Assembly. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, an important milestone in the protection of the ozone layer.
Dr. Qamar uz Zaman Chaudhry told the participants that the theme of the day “30 Years of Healing the Ozone Together” reminds us of all efforts so far done for the protection of ozone layer. He further told the participants that it is believed that the ozone layer would be restored to its 1980-level by the middle of the century.
“Thirty years ago, the international community signed the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. Under its Montreal Protocol, a global treaty passed in 1987 to phase out ozone depleting substances like chlorofluorocarbons (commonly found in spray cans and refrigerants at the time), ozone depletion has stopped and may soon reverse course,” Mr. Chaudhry said.
The Montreal Protocol has, in fact, established a unique partnership between the developed and developing countries, all striving in unison and harmony to achieve the phase out of Ozone depletion Substances (ODS). Depletion of Ozone Layer is one of the most serious environmental concerns threatening the very existence of life on earth. Ozone provides a natural protective filter against harmful ultra-violet rays from the sun, which can cause sunburn, cataracts and skin cancer as well as damage vegetation.
“It is encouraging to note that Pakistan is on its way to eliminate the use of Ozone depleting substances and is in full compliance with the targets set-out by the Ozone Secretariat. In this context, on 1st January, 2015 Pakistan has achieved the 10% reduction targets of HCFCs,” said Sajjad Ahmad Bhutta, joint secretary at the climate change ministry and national project director of the Ozone Cell.
He further said that it was not yet done. The problem required concrete efforts by the government as well as the private sector making the earth ozone-friendly. Mr. Bhutta hoped that with the financial and technical assistance of Multilateral Funds Secretariat (MLFS), the Ozone depleting substances phase out strategies will remain successful.
“Protection of ozone layer, the ultimate objective of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the ozone layer, is must to allow the life on earth to prosper in a sustainable manner. Looking back over the past 30 years, we are at a critical juncture in the implementation of a phase out programme for the Ozone Depleting Substances,” he highlighted.
Marking the ‘International Ozone Day’ is a significant initiative, he underlined. Bhutta argued, “It does remind us of the unprecedented importance of protecting the ozone layer. He also said that celebrating the ozone day particularly aimed to highlight the value of collective efforts of the global community in protecting the ozone layer over the past three decades and the supporting slogan highlights the importance of the ozone layer in protecting life on Earth from the harmful effects of UV radiation,”
On this special day, 197 member countries join together to draw attention of the entire world community to the problem of the depletion of ozone layer, which is essential for sustained life on the Earth Planet, Sajjad Ahmed added. Bhutta told the participants that the phase-out of ozone depleting substances under the Montreal Protocol benefited the earth’s climate.
“Since most of the ozone depleting substances are also potent greenhouse gases, the elimination of these substances has served to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, the enormous reduction of greenhouse gases has made the Montreal protocol a key contributor to the global fight against climate change,” he elaborated.
“Thanks to the concerted global efforts, the ozone layer was healing and was expected to recover by the middle of this century. In addition, up to two million cases of skin cancer may be prevented each year by 2030 and significant adverse effects on agriculture, wildlife, fisheries and materials have been avoided,” the joint secretary said.