Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam has urged the global communities that while focusing its energies on tackling climate change do not neglect the ozone layer and ramp up action to overcome the threat posed by the illegal use of ozone-depleting gases, according to a press statement issued here on Wednesday.
In his public message on the World Ozone Day being marked today across the world including Pakistan, he said that "another year of climate change-induced floods, hurricane, record heatwaves, superstorms and climate disruptions signify that the world community has no choice but to act now and together before it is too late to completely restore ozone layer, which protects lives on the earth from ‘very adverse’ impacts of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight when coming down unfiltered through the cracked ozone layer.
Ozone layer depletion causes increased UV radiation levels at the Earth's surface, which is damaging to human health. Negative effects include increase in certain types of skin cancers, eye cataracts and immune deficiency disorders. UV radiation also affects terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, altering growth, food chains and biochemical cycles. Aquatic life just below the water’s surface, the basis of the food chain, is particularly adversely affected by high UV levels. UV rays also affect plant growth, reducing agricultural productivity.
Malik Amin Aslam stated, “Life on earth would not be possible without sunlight. But the energy emanating from the sun would be too much for life on the earth to thrive if it was not due to the presence of Ozone Layer.”
As it is known commonly that the stratospheric layer in the earth’s atmosphere shields the earth from most of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. Sunlight makes life possible, but the ozone layer makes the life as possible, he added.
PM’s special assistant Malik Amin said that today on the World Ozone Day, which is the United Nation’s annual day and marked every year on September 16 to marks the anniversary of the signing of the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone Layer. the world is celebrating 35 years of the successful implementation of the Vienna Convention for the protection of the ozone layer.
This year the Ozone Day is being celebrated across the world under the theme ‘Ozone for life: 35 years of ozone layer protection’.
This convention and its Montreal Protocol united the world to cut out the gases creating a hole in the planet’s ozone layer, critical in shielding us against deadly UV radiation. This model of international cooperation has put the ozone layer on the road to recovery, protecting human and ecosystem health.
“Such cooperation among countries at the global scale displays that when people work together, they can address the problems on a global scale,” Malik Amin Aslam emphasised.
The world needs this unity of purpose more than ever, as the world seeks to address nature loss, environmental degradation, climate change and pollutions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the discussions on the replenishment of the multilateral fund,” he underlined.
Pakistan’s role in global Ozone action
Talking about Pakistan’s role in cutting out the use of ozone depleting Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFCs) gases, he said that the country signed the Montreal Protocol in 1992 and as a responsible state, considering it a national responsibility to follow and implement the MP decisions in the country, ultimately adding to global efforts for protection of Ozone Layer and environmental protection.
“As a result, Pakistan being responsible party to Montreal Protocol has achieved significant benchmarks, which includes conversion of ozone depleting substances (ODS) based technology to ozone friendly in foam and refrigeration & air conditioning (RAC) sector, banned 1st generation of ODS, established fool proof licensing system to regulate the import of HCFCs with the support of Import Policy Order (IPO) and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).”, the PM’s special assistant Malik Amin Aslam highlighted.
He said “It is indeed a matter of great pride for us to announce that this year Pakistan has achieved 50 percent HCFCs’ phase-out against the target of 35 percent given under Montreal Protocol.”
This undoubtedly demonstrates the seriousness of our government in phasing out use of the ozone-depleting HCFCs in the country, would not have been possible without the support of the key partners including the industry, PHVACR society and RAC servicing sector.
Malik Amin on background of the Vienna Convention
Explaining about the background of the Vienna Convention, Malik Amin Aslam recalled that 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 hand-in-gloves to reduce the use of all ozone-depleting substances by 99 percent, he added.
“Because of the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is healing and expected to return to pre-1980 values by mid-century. In support of the Protocol, the Kigali Amendment, which came into force in 2019, will work towards reducing hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs), greenhouse gases with powerful climate-warming potential and damaging to the environment,” SAPM Malik Amin Said.
Thus, the Montreal Protocol is both an inspirational example of how humanity is capable of cooperating to fight a global challenge and a key instrument for tackling the unfolding global climate crisis. Because, this is under the international treaty, nations have worked for 35 years to slash the use of ozone-depleting chemicals, used largely by the cooling industry. As a result, the ozone layer that shields us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation is healing.
However, the World Ozone Day highlights for the entire global community that collective decisions and action, guided by science, are the only way to solve major global crises like it put holed ozone layer on restoration path, he Said.
Because, a healthy ozone layer and climate are essential to meeting all of the UN-led 17 Sustainable Development Goals.