Environment Agency (NEA), Monday joined the rest of the world in celebrating
the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone layer, on the theme: 32
years and Healing.
The celebration was conducted through a march procession from West Field youth monument to the NEA headquarter in Kanifing, led by The Gambia Police Band.
The International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone layer, also call World Ozone Day, is set aside by the United Nations to create awareness on the dangers created by ozone depletion.
The ozone layer plays a significant role in reducing harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun from reaching the earth surface. The layer provides a protective shield for plant and animal life from the ultraviolet radiation of the sun, which can be particularly harmful to all living organisms.
These harmful effects include increase skin cancer, cataracts, blindness, suppression of the human immune system, damage to natural ecosystems and adverse impact on climate change.
Dr. Dawda Badgie, Deputy Executive Director of NEA said the day is celebrated annually by 147 parties, including The Gambia who is a signatory to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone Layer.
He said the theme of the celebration is apt and depicts 32 years of hard work and what have been achieved by Ozone officers all over the world with support from the United Nations Environment Programmed, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation the World Bank, International NGOS, the Global Environment Facility and political institutions.
Mr. Badgie said the Montreal protocol have proven to be the most innovative and successful environmental treaty. “It is the first international environmental agreement that attained universal ratification. Leveraging worldwide participation, the Montreal Protocol has sent a strong signal to environmentalist all over the world to stand firm in the protection and preservation of the ozone layer.”
He said the call placed the ozone layer, which was in peril on a path to recover and repair, saying a 2018 study by the Montreal Protocol Scientific Assessment of Ozone depletion estimates that with the implementation of the protocol, countries can expect near complete recovery of the Ozone Layer by the middle of the 21st century.
According to him, to further enhance achievements, parties to the Montreal protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone Layer adopted the Kigali amendment to phase down the production and consumption of hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs) on 15th October 2016.
He said HFCs are alternative refrigerants to Ozone Depleting Substances already controlled by the Montreal protocol. “This particular amendment calls for all parties to gradually phase down HFCs because they have high global warming potential. You will all agree with me that the earth is warming up and the Gambia is one of those vulnerable countries that will be affected by the negative impacts of global warming,” he said.
He said that the Kigali amendment creates market certainty and opens international markets to new technologies better for the environment, without compromising performance. “Already more than 75 parties have ratified the Kigali amendment,
The Gambia is yet to ratify it but we are at the advance preparation to ratify it,” he told the gathering.