Commemoration of International Day for Protection of the Ozone Layer

Ozone is a gas, consisting of three oxygen atoms, that occurs naturally in the atmosphere and exists in two regions of the atmosphere. 10% of the Ozone gas is found in the troposphere (which is 10km – 16km above the earth’s surface) and 90% is found in the stratosphere (which is 16km – 50km above the earth’s surface). It is the stratosphere that is referred to as the Ozone Layer and it surrounds the whole earth.

In the early 1980s, scientists observed a thinning of the ozone layer over Antarctica, and people began describing this phenomenon as an “ozone hole.” Additional research has shown that ozone depletion has occurred on every continent. Since this discovery treaties to protect the ozone layer were formulated. The notable one being the Montreal Protocol.

The Montreal Protocol that controls substances that deplete the ozone layer and those that cause global warming, has been put in place and has achieved universal ratification. The Montreal Protocol has been amended five times and each Amendment controls a particular set of substances. The most recent list of substances to be added to the List of controlled substances includes the HFCs which were added to the Kigali Amendment of 2016. The HFCs cause global warming.

The Montreal Protocol has been domesticated by Government of Uganda and incorporated in the National Environment Act, 2019, and the National Environment (Management of Ozone Depleting Substances and Products) Regulations, 2020.

Several provisions in the National Environment (Management of Ozone Depleting Substances and Products) Regulations, 2020, have already been implemented including: training of refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) technicians in good refrigeration and air conditioning practices (including those technicians who have never got formal education and training in refrigeration and air conditioning), registering importers and licensing and implementing the quota system for the importers of substances (for example, refrigerants like HCFC-22 or R-22) and products controlled under the Montreal Protocol, developing a code of practice for technicians engaged in RAC, among others.

Overall, the countries / governments have committed their efforts to phasing out ODSs and those that cause global-warming by the year 2050.