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16 September 2020

International Day

for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

Olafur Eliasson, Escaped light

In 1994, September 16 was designated by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer in commemoration of the date, in 1987, on which nations signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. After more than thirty years, the global consumption of substances which reduce the ozone layer has been reduced by approximately 98% when countries started adopting measures in line with the Montreal Protocol. Consequently, the concentration in the atmosphere of the most aggressive types of those substances is decreasing and the ozone layer is showing the first signs of recovery. However, experts predict full recovery will not be reached before 2050. The freed substances which reduce the ozone layer exist in the atmosphere for many years and continue causing damage. There is still plenty of work to do to guarantee the recovery of the ozone layer and limit the impact of the substances.

The Ozone layer is a natural gas layer in the stratosphere which protects humanity and other living being from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Ozone is found in small quantities in the atmosphere, but the majority (approx. 90%) is found in the stratosphere, a layer above the earth’s surface with a width between 10 and 50 km. The ozone layer filters the most harmful UV radiations and therefore is fundamental to life on Earth.