Karachi - On the occasion of World Ozone Day today (September 16) Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) has launched a one-day awareness campaign to make the people aware on the role of Ozone layer for protecting the world from direct contact of ultraviolet rays of sun that come after being sieved; otherwise, these rays can cause skin cancer in those who if receive them un-sieved apart from causing huge damage to natural environment.

According to details of the campaign, in first phase, 24-hour campaign small and simple messages on the significance of Ozone layer to health, environment and other living beings are being disseminated through cable TV for the people of Karachi. After examining the success of this campaign, it will be taken to whole province next time to let the people know about the sensitivity and importance of this issue.

It may be pointed out that World Ozone Day 2013 is being observed today to invite the attention of global fraternity towards fast depleting ozone layer.

It was decided by the United Nations Environment Programme in 1994 to observe this day to sensitise the world community on the significance of this issue. Since then it is being observed every year on September 16 and various awareness activities are organised by government, non-governmental, non-profit and private organisations to mark this day. The theme of World Ozone Day 2013 is ‘A Healthy Atmosphere, the Future We Want.’

The Ozone layer is vital to human, animal, and plant life on the earth’s surface. Yet in the 1980s, it was discovered that the layer was vulnerable to damage by emissions into the atmosphere of particular industrial chemicals, of which the most important was the family of chlorofluorocarbons. The negotiation of the international treaty the Montreal Protocol designed to limit, and ultimately end, the production and use of these chemicals took place under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme.

The regime established by the Montreal Protocol has proved highly effective in limiting damage to the Ozone layer. Ozone depletion has reached record levels as a result of the last seventy years of production and use of Ozone-damaging chemicals.

However, the damage is now nearing its peak and it is predicted that the Ozone layer will start to recover in the next few years; it should be restored to full health by the middle of the next century. This process of recovery can be accelerated by actions taken by organisations and individuals. Many offices throughout the world contain equipment, including refrigerators, air-conditioning units and fire extinguishers, which contain Ozone depleting substances.

If it is ensured that these appliances do not leak and are adequately serviced or replaced with units that do not contain such substances, the recovery process of the Ozone layer could be quicker.

Since substitutes now exist for virtually all uses of CFCs and most other ozone-depleting substances, this is a relatively easily achievable goal. Indeed, in many instances new units containing CFC substitutes are more efficient (for example in energy use) than the old units they replace, resulting in additional benefits.