In 1994, the UN General Assembly declared September 16 as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. Here's a quick recap of the state of affairs today.
The ozone layer acts like a protective pair of sunglasses, shielding the earth from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Unfortunately, several man-made chemicals including CFCs (used in air conditioners, paints, air fresheners) and halogen gas (used in products ranging from fire extinguishers to computers) have threatened this layer.
A depleted ozone layer will cause extensive damage to both the environment and human health. It leaves us vulnerable to increased incidences of skin cancer, eye cataracts, and damage to our immune systems.
Can we help protect the ozone layer? Will better everyday practices avert an impending catastrophe? Here are a few tips that can go a long way to save the planet from ruin:
- Go green – give your home an eco makeover. Use heating/cooking systems and water-heating appliances that run on gas. Make sure your home is well-insulated in winter and avoid using excessive air-conditioning in summer.
- Consume electricity wisely. Reduce waste and replace old appliances with more energy-efficient ones.
- Switch to renewable energy systems, such as solar panels and wind turbines.
- Recycle and compost household waste.
- Say NO to gas-guzzling cars. Buy low-carbon, “green” cars.
- Take a train instead of a flight! Carbon dioxide emissions from flights are choking the earth.
- Try a low-carbon diet – reduce animal products, avoid freighted foods, opt for generous helpings of seasonal fruits and vegetables.