Some things are essential for our existence but are so ubiquitous that we forget about their existence and take them for granted. Like oxygen in the air, the pumping of the heart, or the ozone layer, without which we would cease to exist. World Ozone Day 2020 is a helpful reminder of this precious substance enveloping the earth and protecting the planet from ultraviolet radiation. World Ozone Day is held every year on September 16, to celebrate the Vienna Convention where the ozone treaties were signed.
What is the theme for World Ozone Day 2020?
The theme for this year is ‘Ozone for life: 35 years of ozone layer protection’. It’s been 35 years since the landmark Vienna Convention where various entities pledged to work together to protect this precious element. The theme depicts how partnerships and scientifically-tuned action only can solve crises situations.
Why this theme for 2020?
The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it economic recession and health emergencies. It has made all the nations and their leaders aware of just how much we need each other if we are to rid the world of COVID-19. The ozone treaties signed 35 years ago had various international bodies working together harmoniously. This was the only way to protect the ozone, which had started showing signs of damage in the 1970s. The theme is a reminder of the power of collective action in solving global crises, from coronavirus to climate change. The slogan ‘Ozone for life’ implies that ozone is essential not just for all living beings on the planet today but also our descendants.
The UN Environment Programme’s Executive Director, Inger Anderson, put it succinctly when she elaborated in her broadcast message on World Ozone Day 2020 is a reminder for collective action. She talked about the Vienna Convention and the corresponding Montreal Protocol bringing the world together to fix the gaping hole in the ozone layer, which acts as a roof over our heads.
The hole in the ozone would have vastly increased incidences of skin cancer and cataracts in people and caused massive destruction of crops and forests. Governments and corporates worked together with scientists to reduce 99% of ozone-depleting gases from the atmosphere. 35 years down the line, the ozone is healthier and the planet’s beings, safer.
“We need this unity of purpose more than ever, as we seek to address nature loss, climate change and pollution in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the discussions on the replenishment of the multilateral fund,” she said.
The latest development is the Kigali Amendment from 2019, which is aimed at reducing greenhouse gases called HFCs that wreak havoc on the natural ecosystems. World Ozone Day 2020 is a good time to educate yourself on facts about the ozone roof over our heads.