Thinning of Ozone Layer: Ozone is a form of oxygen with three forms instead of the normal two and forms a fragile shield scattered in the stratosphere absorbing sun’s ultra violet radiation. Near the earth’s surface, Ozone is a an increasingly troublesome pollutant, but safely up at a height of 20 to 30 kilometres from the earth in the atmosphere, it is a important to life, as important to life as oxygen itself.
The thinning of this layer has generated global concern. This is due to several chemical pollutants discharged by industries or produced through other chemical reactions. Chiorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are inert, inexpensive, stable, non-inflammable, non-toxic, easy to store and produce. The Population explosion is one of the causes of the increase of CFCs due to use of air conditioners, insulation, solvents and fire-killers. In 1986, three US agencies, viz., National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Fedra1 Aviation Administration (FAA) started reporting on ground and satellae-based data on ozone depletion in stratosphere by the use of chemicals like halon 1301, methyl the chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, solvents-FC-1 13, aerosols, foams and refrigeration CFC- 11, and air conditioning CFC- 12 that are depleting the ozone layer 4,5,8,12 and 26 percent, respectively, on global scale, because of human activities. As for as CFC regional consumption, USA is on top consuming 29 percent, Russia and Europe 14 percent while in China and India it is merely 2 percent. The total ozone amounts in the northern hemisphere, middle and high latitudes have decreased, and sudden and unexpected decrease in the amount of spring time Antarctic zone is confirmed on 15 to 20 km in the stratosphere ozone layer.
The increase in ozone layer depletion will invite the lethal ultra violet rays from the sun which will increase cancer, eye damage, injure plants and marine life and even reduce our immunity to diseases. The UV-B damages the genetic material even reduces the efficiency of the immune system, thus impairing the body’s resistance. Experts are of the opinion that animal and plant would face a grim challenge if radiations are not checked. Certain crops have been found vulnerable to such radiations. Under impacts of radiations proteins in plants, microbes and animals would be affected and such changes in spatial orientation would be critical in the formed part of the reaction centre of an enzyme. Near cities where population concentration is more, ozone could be formed near the earth’s surface having disastrous effects on human health, crops and ecosystems. It would also increase the incidence of smog in areas of industrial concentration. Ozone has had its effect on the earth’s climate by adding to the greenhouse effects.
The world has now been serious about the most dramatic evidence of ozone depletion a “hole” in the ozone layer which appears every spring over the Antarctica. This hole has grown over the last ten years. Till now, no clear explanation has been found to explain this phenomenon scientific research in this field is in progress. But general opinion regarding the cause of this depletion is the CFC. The countries of the world now have started serious thinking about his problem. In fact, this is the duty of the developed countries, who have technology and infrastructure, to check the ozone depletion. Because this problem is not a problem of individual nations, therefore, combined efforts can only check the ozone depletion.
The concern about ozone layer protection began by the late 1 970s and early 1980s. In 1978 the United States banned the principal CFCs for most uses; in 1980 European Community countries placed a limit on production of CFCs and cut their use in aerosol products by 30 per cent. Sweden, Norway and Canada also placed limits on CFC use. In 1975 UNEP has also expressed serious concern about ozone depletion and also developed a World Plant of Action on the Ozone Layer. Some of the important international actions taken on ozone protection are listed below:
1977 UNEP Coordinating Committee on the ozone layer established.
1985 Vienna Convention of the protection of ozone layer.
1987 Motreal Protocol in substances that deplete the ozone layer.
1988 Entry into force of the Vienna Convention.
1989 Entry into force of the Motreal Protocol.
1990 Montreal Protocol amended in London. The amendment required signatory governments to regulate consumption and production of CFCs.
Jan.1991 Establishment of interim multilateral fund to provide financial assistance to developing countries in order to facilitate control meansures.
May 1992 112 states have ratified the amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
Aug. 1992 Entry into force of the amendment.
Nov. 1992 Act Copenhagen, parties agreed to accelerate, phase out schedule, to Jan.1996
Both the state and non state actors played major roles in the regime building process. To a large extent, their roles were determined by their position in the global economic systems. There is a need of greater cooperation between developed and developing nations in the field of ozone layer protection because ozone depletion involves the atmosphere, which is a common property resources.