Ozone Day

In 1994, the UN General Assembly proclaimed September 16th as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer because the Montreal protocol on ozone-destroying substances was signed September 16th, 1987.

Scientists first noted in the late 1960s that the thinning stratospheric-ozone layer shielded this planet from murderous ultra-violet radiation.

In 1974, US chemist Mario Molina advanced a theory to the effect that the ozone layer was being destroyed through the excessive use of chloro-fluoro-methane substances, i.e. freons, inside refrigerators, air conditioners and sprays.

In 1977, representatives of 32 countries met in Washington, subsequently finalizing the first action plan for protecting the ozone layer. As a result, the United States, Sweden, Norway and Canada banned the use of freon sprays.

In March 1985, Vienna hosted a special conference, which passed the Vienna convention on protecting the ozone layer.

The convention made it incumbent on the world's countries to chart specific measures for the sake of reducing negative impact on the ozone layer. The convention didn't stipulate any specific deadlines for implementing ozone-protection measures, as well as any sanctions against countries, which didn't implement such measures effectively enough. The Soviet Union joined the Vienna convention in 1986.

In September 1987, 36 countries signed a protocol on ozone-depleting substances, i.e. the so-called Montreal protocol. That agreement called for freezing production of the five most widespread freons at 1986 levels, as well as their curtailed production. Such production was to have been slashed by 20 percent by the year 1993, and by 30 percent by the year 1998. As of 2001, the Montreal protocol was inked by over 160 countries of the world. The USSR signed the document in 1988.

A multilateral fund was established within the protocol's framework, comprising the industrial world's donations and financing ozone-saving projects in the Third World. A committee for implementing the Montreal protocol was also established.

In June 1990, 92 countries, including the USSR, signed a supplement to the Montreal protocol in London. That document called for completely halting freon production by the year 2000. In November 1992, new amendments were passed in Copenhagen, expanding the list of banned ozone killers and stipulating the relevant deadlines for stopping their production. In 1997, countries, parties to the Montreal protocol, agreed on the need to introduce freon export-import licenses, also adjusting specific production-termination deadlines.

In a bid to fulfil the Montreal protocol's commitments, all industrial countries, except Eastern Europe and the former USSR, mostly scaled down freon production and consumption by the year 1995. Moreover, some countries, such as the United States and Germany, developed effective freon regeneration-and-recycling systems for refrigerators and freezers.

Russian freon production peaked over the 1990 period, totalling 197,000 tons. Spray-production facilities use up 46 percent of all freons. Refrigerator and air-conditioner manufacturers use 27 percent of all substances in this category. Foam-plastic producers and fire-extinguisher factories use 11 percent and 14 percent of freons, respectively. Meanwhile 2 percent of all local enterprises use freons as thinners. However, freon production has now been slashed considerably here. Local production facilities are switching over to ozone-friendly products; consequently, Russia will fulfil its Montreal-protocol commitments already in the near future.

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Author`s name Editorial Team