Preservation of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol

One of the most successful international treaties was the Montreal Protocol which banned the use of Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. It was ratified by all 197 members of the United Nations and signed by 28 countries on 19 December 1987. On 19 December, 1994 the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution (49/114), to celebrate the signing of the Montreal Protocol. Since 1995, every year September 16 is observed as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.

Montreal Protocol is a protocol to the Vienna Convention for the protection of the Ozone Layer, designed to protect the Ozone layer by banning substances believed to be responsible for depletion of the Ozone layer. It is believed that if all the countries adhere to the treaty Ozone layer will be recovered completely by 2050. The treaty was opened for signature on 16 September 1987, and entered into force on 1 January 1989, followed by a first meeting in Helsinki, May 1989. Since then, it has undergone seven revisions, in 1990 (London), 1991 (Nairobi), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1993 (Bangkok), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), and 1999 (Beijing).

The protocol requires the control of nearly 100 chemical in various categories. The treaty sets out a timetable to phase out the production of chemicals, aiming to completely eliminate them. The implementation of the protocol has been adhered to in most cases, some of them even ahead of schedule and it has progressed well in developed and developing countries. The protocol doesn’t forbid the use of existing or recycled controlled substances beyond the phase-out dates. There are a few exceptions for essential uses where no acceptable substitutes have been found, for example, in metered dose inhalers (MDI) commonly used to treat asthma and other respiratory problems or halon fire-suppression systems used in submarines and aircraft.

The Ozone layer depletion is being caused by a number of commonly used chemicals. Halocarbons are chemicals in which one or more carbon atoms are linked to one or more halogen atoms (fluorine, chlorine, bromine or iodine). Halocarbons containing bromine usually have much higher ozone-depleting potential (ODP) than those containing chlorine. The man-made chemicals that have provided most of the chlorine and bromine for ozone depletion are methyl bromide, methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride and families of chemicals known as halons, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).

This year’s theme is “A healthy atmosphere, the future we want”. The Ozone layer acts as a shield from the harmful rays from the sun, thus helping preserve life on the planet. Our efforts in this mission has not only helped reduction in depletion but also addressed climate change issues.

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"A healthy atmosphere, the future we want"

“A healthy atmosphere, the future we want”

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24 thoughts on “Preservation of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol

    • Kumar Anshuman says:

      I do agree with what you said Rahul. There is a complex relationship between ozone loss and climate change. Treaties like this will not only help in making the world a better place through preservation of ozone layer but also contributes significantly to international attempts to fighting global warming as Ozone depleting substances for example HFCs are also “greenhouse gases.”

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  1. The ozone layer of the Earth provides the necessary screening from the most harmful UVB wavelengths (280–315 nm) of ultraviolet light (UV light) coming from the sun which is a potential cause for skin cancer, cataracts, damage to plants, and reduction of plankton populations in the ocean’s photic zone. Its depletion is a threat to life as a whole. As such the Montreal protocol comes as a welcome measure.
    Even though the treaty was designed out of worldwide concern, the number of signatory countries is however disappointing (46 out of 197). It is not just enough to recognize or accept the existence of a problem, it is equally important to take measures & solve it. Also this realization should come on an individual level, if we do our bit by using less of such ozone-depleting substances am sure our goal would be reached sooner.

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  2. It is a true fact that these treaties will ensure an improvement in the environmental conditions. But the the question is, do developing countries have the technological capacity to adhere to the conditions of the treaties?

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  3. Smriti Bhatnagar says:

    Advocacy and making people aware about buying 5 star rated and environment friendly products is the only way that ozone layer depletion can be stopped.

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  4. Pankaj Bharadwaj says:

    By making people realize the importance of public transport is important as it will lead to less number of private transport and in the process there will be less harmful chemicals in the air and hence less ozone depletion. We should convince people to use public or non motorized transport.

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  5. SreeVidhya Rajiv says:

    Antarctica was an early victim of ozone destruction. A massive hole in the ozone layer right above Antarctica now threatens not only that continent, but many others that could be the victims of Antarctica’s melting icecaps. In the future,the ozone problem will have to be solved so that the protective layer can be conserved. So Treaties like this will definitely help the world.

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  6. Kaif Siddiqui says:

    Depletion of ozone layer lead to several diseases like skin cancer and cataracts and affects the planet badly.Montreal protocol bans the CFC’s and Halons etc. So we should need to use all these treaties to protect the ozone layer and use Eco-friendly sources.

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  7. Arunima says:

    Many people fail to understand the reasons for Preservation of the Ozone Layer only because of the technical terminologies which are discussed in this subject. Even if the audience is interested to learn about this subject and its happenings, but the reason they fail to understand is what makes them loose the interest in the subject. If we are looking for immediate results and changes in decision making by the larger section of the society the need of the hour is to spread awareness. Awareness through a medium which can communicate technical information more creatively, interestingly and in an easy non-technical language.

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  8. Lipika Singh says:

    In these times , one is tempted to believe that nothing is being done to preserve the ozone layer , with constant flow of bad news like, discovery of a hole in the ozone layer above the Antarctic, average global temperatures increasing yearly, frequent and closer hurricanes, devastating heavy rain falls .More time and money should therefore be devoted in to educating people on new the behaviors to adopt, that will slow down this devastating impact.

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  9. In order to benefit the ozone layer and prevent negative impacts on climate, it is of exceptional importance to use new alternative technologies which are also more energy efficient.Not only as individuals but also as a community as a whole, we have to do something today in order to preserve the ozone layer for those who will come after us..!!

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  10. Iffat Anjum says:

    If we are targeting on ozone layer depletion in the atmosphere then we must first educate people that what it is at all the level of society and in rural and urban areas.Then we can sensitize people that what are the products that produces more gas which leads to ozone depletion so that we can either find alternate solution or can banned those product.The developed countries need to be more cooperative and put more efforts as they are the one who are more contributing to the ozone depletion.Though underdeveloped and developing countries should also start finding alternate solutions because climate change is affecting to all and is very fast.

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  11. Ujjwal Rakesh says:

    Over the past 30 years ozone levels over parts of Antarctica have dropped by almost 40% during some months and a “hole” in ozone concentrations is clearly visible in satellite observations. Treaties like this will definitely avoid such destruction but apart from this general awareness is important as well. Various environmental friendly laws has to be formed and enforced at ground level to will ensure environmental sustainability and also such deadly destruction.

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  12. Jasleen Gandhi says:

    One of the reasons , we take ozone layer lightly , is because , we don’t understand that its not only going to effect the environment but our basic health as well . We ignore the common knowledge that it can cause skin cancer and cataracts.

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  13. gaurav says:

    Need of the hour is a legally binding policy. which will be mandatory for countries to abide by and realistic targets will be allotted as per the contribution towards ozone depletion agents. Also the energy sector should switch to clean energy concept.

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  14. Mark says:

    From 1970’s the effects of CFCs were gaining importance. The fact that it took 25 years for world powers to agree to a protocol to ban such a dangerous substance is a disturbing thought. It is especially disturbing when developing countries add to the concentration with no alternative substance (only now do we have Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC’s) as a viable alternative which will have a Ozone Depletion Potential of 0). We should only hope that measures are taken sooner, that countries are not lackadaisical and sustainable development is the path more often taken.

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  15. Manjit says:

    The Montreal Protocol has been called as a prime example of successful international cooperation to protect the global commons. In addition to protecting the ozone layer, the Montreal Protocol is also contributing to protect the global climate.

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  16. Mohd Ibrahim says:

    I consider what you say that The ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the rays of the sun, thus helping preserve life on the planet. The Protocol has catalyzed innovation in the chemical and equipment manufacturing industry, resulting in more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly refrigeration systems.

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  17. Suhail Haque says:

    The onus of improving the ozone layer seems to have fallen at the hands of the government of all the countries that signed the Montreal protocol. Yes, the government have to take immediate actions in controlling and reducing the damage but we, all, as individuals have greater role to play which we usually forget or just try to ignore. Even small steps taken by every individual can benefit the environment in totality like avoid using fire extinguishers with halogenated hydrocarbon, Opt to buy a refrigerator or an air-conditioning without CFC, Reduce the use of your car and of other gadgets like compressors, lawn mowers, etc., use alternative means of transport: buses, bicycles, or simply walk. and so on on and so forth. All of us can contribute to the protection of the environment. Before demanding politicians to implement policies to protect the ozone layer, let’s begin ourselves doing something for the environment.

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  18. Nitin Ahuja says:

    Halocarbon gas concentrations have increased primarily due to human activities. Principal halocarbons which were used extensively as refrigeration agents and in other industrial processes before their presence in the atmosphere was found to cause stratospheric ozone depletion. It is thus essentially our duty to keep a check on these activities.

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  19. Pallavi says:

    We have to replace Ozone Depleting substances with environmentally safe substance. To prevent ozone depletion we ought to plant more trees so we have more oxygen.

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  20. Sumeet says:

    Its our responsibility to save our planet. Treaties like this can become successful only when we will also take the initiative of making this planet a more safer place to live.

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