World Ozone Day: Fixing the Ozone layer and reducing Climate Change

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World Ozone Day is celebrated on 16th September each year to commemorate the signing of the Montreal Protocol, an international environmental treaty for phasing out of production and consumption of Ozone Depleting Substances, that came into force on this day in 1987.

The theme for World Ozone Day 2023 is “Montreal Protocol: fixing the ozone layer and reducing climate change”. India has been celebrating the World Ozone Day since 1995 at the National and State levels.

India, as Party to the Montreal Protocol since June 1992, has been successfully implementing the Montreal Protocol and its ozone depleting substances phase out projects and activities in line with the phase out schedule of the Protocol.

India has phased out Chlorofluorocarbons, Carbon tetrachloride, Halons, Methyl Bromide and Methyl Chloroform for controlled uses as on 1 January 2010, in line with the Montreal Protocol phase out schedule. Currently Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are being phased out as per the accelerated schedule of the Montreal Protocol.

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons Phase out Management Plan (HPMP) Stage-I has been successfully implemented from 2012 to 2016 and Hydrochlorofluorocarbons Phase out Management Plan (HPMP) Stage- II is currently under implementation from 2017 and will be completed by the end of 2024.

During HPMP Stage-II implementation, India completely phased out the use of HCFC- 141b in manufacturing of rigid foam, the first among the developing countries to achieve the milestone.

As against target of 35% reduction from the baseline as on January 2020, India achieved a reduction of 44%, highlighting India’s efforts in protection of the stratospheric ozone layer.

As part of HPMP Stage-III implementation from 2023-2030, phase out of HCFCs in manufacturing of new equipment will be phased out by 31st Feburary 2024.

Implementation of HPMP Stage-III will enable India to achieve compliance with the control targets of HCFCs for the years 2025 and 2030 under the Montreal Protocol.

In addition, HPMP Stage-III will result in net direct emission reductions of 19,239,929 tonne CO2 equivalent from 2030 onwards.

The phase out of Ozone Depleting Substances led to the growth of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), used as alternatives to the ODSs, particularly in the refrigeration and air- conditioning sector.

While HFCs do not deplete the Ozone Layer, they have high global warming potential ranging from 12 to 14000, which have adverse impact on climate.

The decision to add HFCs to the list of controlled substances under the Montreal Protocol during 2016 led to the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, under which all Parties shall gradually reduce the consumption and production of HFCs. As per the Kigali

As per the Ministry , India will complete its phase down of production and consumption of HFCs for controlled uses in 4 steps from 2032 onwards with cumulative reduction of 10% in 2032, 20% in 2037, 30% in 2042 and 85% in 2047.

India has ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol during September 2021 National Strategy for phase down of HFCs in close cooperation with the industry stakeholders shall be developed by 2023.

Montreal Protocol: A brief background

Ozone Layer exists in the Stratosphere, between 10 KM and 40 KM above the Earth’s surface and protects us from UV radiation from the Sun. Ozone formed in the stratosphere called stratospheric ozone or good Ozone.

Without the Ozone layer, radiation from the sun would reach earth directly, having ill effects on human health, i.e., eye cataract, skin cancer, etc., and adverse impacts on agriculture, forestry and marine life. Manmade chemicals containing chlorine and bromine reach the stratosphere and undergo a complex series of catalytic reactions, leading to destruction of ozone. These chemicals are called Ozone Depleting Substances.

The Vienna Convention, an international treaty on the protection of the Ozone Layer, came into force in 1985. Under this convention, the Montreal Protocol’s came into force in 1987 to repair the ozone layer to protect the earth’s Ozone Layer by phasing out production and consumption of Ozone Depleting Substances for end applications.

The Montreal Protocol provides a set of practical, actionable tasks to phase out ozone- depleting substances. and is one of the most successful and effective environmental treaties ever negotiated and implemented, due to the unprecedented level of cooperation and commitment shown by the international community.

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