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UNIDO celebrates International Day for the Preservation of Ozone Layer

VIENNA, Sep 16 2014 (IPS) - The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), along with implementing agencies of the Montreal Protocol, commemorated International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.

The International Day commemorates the date of the signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which entered into force in 1989. The Montreal Protocol aims to help phase out a number of man-made chemicals that are Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS).

According to a new assessment by 300 scientists, published last week, the ozone layer that shields the Earth from cancer-causing ultraviolet rays is showing early signs of thickening after years of depletion. The ozone hole that appears annually over Antarctica has also stopped growing bigger every year. Scientists say the recovery is entirely due to political determination to phase out the man-made gases destroying ozone, according to a press release.

“Today is a great opportunity for us to reflect on the remarkable progress that has been achieved in reducing the damage to the ozone layer. UNIDO is very pleased that our major contribution to the implementation of the Montreal Protocol over the years is now bearing fruit,” said Stephan Sicars, Director of UNIDO’s Montreal Protocol Branch.

UNIDO became an implementing agency of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol in 1992. Through the promotion of clean production, UNIDO’s support has enabled industries to eliminate the use of ODS in manufacturing processes.

The Organization helps industries to either replace ODS with ozone- and climate-friendly substances, or to redesign their products entirely. UNIDO’s projects and programmes have helped a number of countries introduce new technologies that no longer use ODS.

Sicars said, “The Montreal Protocol has significantly reduced the atmospheric abundance of gases, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons that were once used in products such as refrigerators, spray cans, insulation foam and fire extinguishers. With full compliance with the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is expected to recover to 1980 benchmark levels – the time before significant ozone layer depletion – around the middle of the century. This is great news.”

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