Apr 6, 2011, 1:24 PM
September 16 was observed as World Ozone Day and is celebrated by all the parties that have ratified the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
To mark the day, the Minister of Forestry and the Environment, Hon. Fatou Gaye, has issued a statement.
According to her, this year’s World Ozone Day marks the 25th celebration (Silver Jubilee), of the Montreal Protocol making the celebration a special one.
She revealed that the theme for this year’s celebration is: “Protecting our atmosphere for generations to come”.
The forestry and environment minister added: “The atmosphere is very important resource for mankind and other living things on earth. It houses the Ozone Layer which protects life on earth from Ultraviolet B Radiation. This radiation from the sun reaches the earth as a result of the refrigerants we use in our air conditioning systems, refrigerators and in fish processing factories. These refrigerants do not only deplete the Ozone Layer but contribute immensely to the warming of the earth and the atmosphere that surrounds us.”
According to her, a depleted Ozone Layer leads to the increase in skin cancer, suppression of our immune system; reduction of crop yields and kills phytoplankton, and the basic foodstuff of our marine creature like fish, which could eventually lead to a gastric decline in the fish population throughout the world.
She said the President of The Gambia did sign into law the Ozone Depleting Substances Regulations in his capacity as Chairman of the Gambia Environment Management Council.
“This move led to the successful phase-out of all chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), from The Gambia by 31st December 2009 thereby decreasing the chances of the abovementioned effects of Ozone Layer depletion,” she added.
In a bid to ensuring that CFC phase-out is sustained, the National Environment Agency through its Ozone Unit with support from the United Nations Environment Programme has facilitated the formation of Refrigeration Technicians Association in seven regions of the country and provided numerous trainings.
Minister Gaye said the sensitization and awareness creation using different media outlets is ongoing to reach the grassroots on the protection of the Ozone layer and the atmosphere as a whole throughout the country.