HEAT - Environmental Conventions

Ozone Layer

The Montreal Protocol on Substances

The ozone layer is wrapped around the Earth like a protective coat. At a level of 15-30 kilometres, it filters dangerous ultraviolet (UV-B and UV-C) rays out of the sunlight. Over the last few decades, this system has lost its balance. Scientific evidence shows that human-made chemicals are responsible for the creation of the Antarctic ozone hole and are also likely to play a role in global ozone losses.

UV-B rays are penetrating the damaged ozone layer and reaching the Earth to a greater extent. These rays weaken the immune system, causing skin cancer and eye diseases. Genetic deficiencies and disturbances of growth are on the increase. The risk of failed harvests is growing. In the oceans, the UV rays harm the plankton, the first link in the food chain. Massive repercussions on the food chain and hence on commercial fisheries and agriculture can follow. It is going to take decades before the former balance of the ozone layer has been restored. In addition, researchers fear that the thinning of the ozone layer could have far-reaching consequences for other global problems. Most scientists agree that there is a close link between the depletion of the ozone layer and climate changes.

The conclusion of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer in 1985, followed in 1987 by the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, was the starting point of global co-operation in protecting the ozone layer in the stratosphere. In 1990/91, the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol was set up with financial contributions from industrialised countries to assist developing countries in meeting their obligations.

Ozone Depleting Substances

Climate Change

Chemical Safety