Yemen celebrates World Ozone Day [Archives:2003/670/Health]

September 22 2003

By Faisal A. N. Bin Ali Gaber
Ozone Officer
For the Yemen Times

Sana'a, September 21 – Yemen has celebrated on the16th of this month the World ozone Day in Sana'a. The United Nations declared the 16th of September an International Day for the Preservation of the ozone Layer. This day commemorates the day when the Montreal Protocol was first signed in 1987. The signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987 was a historic occasion set to recognize the importance of international co-operation in the world's endeavors to reduce ozone loss over the Antarctic region to pre-1980 levels. This landmark agreement in 1987 was in response to the discovery of a depleted ozone layer over Antarctica in late 1985. South Africa has done its part towards the implementation of the Montreal Protocol by entering as signatory in January 1990, and has succeeded excellently in implementing the protocol, through wide cooperation from the local industry.
In Yemen, the occasion is celebrated annually. Celebrations in past years were held in Sana'a, Aden, Seyun, and other regions. However, this year's celebrations were supposed to be held in Hodeidah City, but that did not happen, according to the Environment General Association due to a number of reasons. However, the association has held a number of activities including a discussion session for its employees on the ozone layer and its preservation, and later on two training courses will be organized for selected staffers from different governorates, who will be taught how to explain the ozone layer problem and how to reduce the use of ozone depletion substances and machines and how to collect information about those substances. The participants will then visit regions in the country to raise awareness of people using the substances causing the ozone layer depletion.
The association is also planning to print wall calendars for the years from 2003 to 2007 explaining the ozone layer's story from the start to the end in both Arabic and English. The calendar will also include photos of the activities carried out by the government in this regard.
Numerous studies based on observations that have provided new key findings have strengthened the overall understanding of the ozone layer and its effect of UV radiation. Very recently emphasis is also being placed on the interconnection aspects of ozone Depletion/probable recovery and Climate Change.
The process of ozone recovery is getting closer, due to drastic steps taken to reduce the use of ozone depletion substances. Predictions indicate that normal, pre-1980 ozone levels will only be reached by the middle of this century, if the world maintains its protection actions. It this must be emphasized that failure by all nations to comply with the Protocol would not only delay the ozone Layer recovery, but it could also prevent it.
This International Day provides an opportunity for the international community to reflect on the progress that has been made, and to remind decision-makers and the public of the need to protect this valuable shield that safeguards our planet. Without the ozone layer all life forms on earth will not exist and the battle to repair this life-sustaining atmospheric system is still far from over.
The ozone General Association has called upon all citizens who deal with substances causing the ozone layer depletion to join our discussions to be held by the association and to exchange ideas and views on how to protect our planet.