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Ozone Day:
September 16th, 2016

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The United Nations International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is celebrated each year around the world on September 16, a date that marks the 1987 signing of the Montreal Protocol. This international treaty was enacted to protect the ozone layer by eliminating the use of ozone depleting substances. As a result of this global effort, the ozone layer is expected to recover by 2050. The phasing out of HFC’s and CFC’s has also contributed significantly to combating climate change by reducing the atmospheric concentration of these known contributors to global warming. This year’s theme “Ozone and climate: Restored by a world united” draws attention to the scientific evidence that continued reduction of ozone depleting substances will avoid 0.4°C of global warming by the end of the century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer.

On this special day, primary and secondary school educators throughout the world are encouraged to organize classroom activities that focus on topics related to the ozone layer and climate change.

The ozone layer acts as an atmospheric shield. All life on earth depends on its protection from the lethal levels of ultraviolet radiation produced by the sun.

Inuvik Sky - Photo Credit: Dawn Bazely

Why Care About The Ozone Layer?

  • Cause and effect has been established between a thinning of the ozone layer and increased incidence of skin cancer.
  • Declines in crop yields of up to 50% in some countries have been linked to increased amounts of incoming UV radiation. A thinner ozone layer is also a factor in the declining concentrations of phytoplankton that support aquatic food webs.
  • Products emitting ozone depleting substances are still produced and consumed throughout the world.
  • Many ozone depleting substances remain active in the atmosphere for 50 to 100 years.
  • Most ozone depleting substances are also greenhouse gases.
  • Protection efforts to date are making a difference. According to the US EPA, the ozone layer has not grown thinner since 1998 and the total abundance of ODS in the atmosphere is decreasing.

Resources 4 Rethinking encourages students and teachers to participate in the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. Top R4R Picks will connect you to some excellent resources to support these efforts.

For more information and activities be sure to check out the International Day for the preservation of the Ozone Layer 2016 website.