New Delhi: Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday said the World Ozone Day was an opportunity to focus global attention on protecting the ozone layer. Observing the 24th World Ozone Day with this year’s theme ‘Keep Cool and Carry on: The Montreal Protocol’ the Minister stressed upon the need to strengthen active collaboration between the government, industries and all stakeholders.
According to the ministry, implementation of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) programme has not only led to the phase-out of around 98 per cent chemicals but also averted more than 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. “Nearly two million cases of skin cancer per year have been averted globally” it said.
The ministry has already undertaken an important initiative for up-skilling of one lakh refrigeration and air-conditioning servicing technicians in collaboration with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, he said.
He underlined the Montreal Protocol — international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion. Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change Secretary C.K. Mishra said it was critical to identify the usage of gases and not merely replacement of gases.
“There are alternative ways to cooling that should be looked at. Another issue is an army of trained manpower to handle manufacturing and maintenance,” Mishra said. On the occasion, the Minister released the draft India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP), a booklet on ‘Montreal Protocol - India’s Success Story’ and refurbished website on the Ozone Cell. The event was attended by senior officials of the ministry, UN Environment representatives, officials of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). September 16 was marked by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) as the International Day for ozone layer prevention. (IANS)