This year, we celebrate 35 years of the Vienna Convention and 35 years of global ozone layer protection.
Life on Earth would not be possible without sunlight. But the energy emanating from the sun would be too much for life on Earth to thrive were it not for the ozone layer. This stratospheric layer shields Earth from most of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. Sunlight makes life possible, but the ozone layer makes life as we know it possible.
The phaseout 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.
When scientists working in the late 1970s discovered that humanity was creating a hole in this protective shield, they raised the alarm. The hole – caused by ozone-depleting gases (ODSs) used in aerosols and cooling, such as refrigerators and air-conditioners – was threatening to increase cases of skin cancer and cataracts, and damage plants, crops, and ecosystems.
The global response was decisive. In 1985, the world’s governments adopted the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. Under the Convention’s Montreal Protocol, governments, scientists and industry worked together to cut out 99% of all ozone-depleting substances. Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is healing and expected to return to pre-1980 values by mid-century.
Global warming, “fake news” some say. Conspiracy theorists invoke claims that the scientific consensus on global warming is based upon manipulated data. Through acts of professional and criminal misconduct, the science behind global warming has been invented or distorted to fit with personal ideology.
UKWSL’s chairmen, the board of directors and management team have more than 100 years combined experience in the waste sector. There’s no great conspiracy, we’re united behind a belief that we have one world, one environment, one ozone layer, one goal. Together we work tirelessly to minimise the impact that we and our customers have on the environment.
World Ozone Day, held on September 16, celebrates what has been achieved through the Montreal Protocol. It shows that collective decisions and action, guided by science, are the only way to solve major global crises. In this year of the COVID-19 pandemic that has brought such social and economic hardship, the ozone treaties’ message of working together in harmony and for the collective good is more important than ever. The slogan of the day, ‘Ozone for life’, reminds us that not only is ozone crucial for life on Earth, but that we must continue to protect the ozone layer for future generations.