India observed the 27th Global Ozone Day on September 16. Union Minister of State for Environment,,Ashwini Choubey, announced that India, one of the members of the Montreal Protocol, has successfully phased out the production and consumption of several major ozone-depleting substances.
Unlike any other planet in the universe, ours is the only one that sustains life. It is so possible because of the atmosphere, a blanket of different gases that perform different functions. Among the different layers of the atmosphere, ozone is present in the stratosphere, which protects life from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet radiations.
However, the changing climate, environment, lifestyle practices, developmental activities, and unsustainable ways have put the ozone layer in a threatened position, damaging it and exposing life to greater risk. The absence of the ozone layer would lead to a hotter planet, and destruct marine, agriculture, and forest.
Use of substances that damage this layer has been in use for a long time until the Government and authorities around the world started taking conscious decisions to undo the impact.
Set up in 1987, the Montreal Protocol called for repairing and protecting the ozone layer by phasing out production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) for all end applications. On March 18, 1991, India joined the Vienna Convention and ratified the Montreal Protocol on June 19, 1992. To fasten the process, the Ministry of Environment also set up the Ozone Cell to achieve the objectives.
Ozone-depleting substances (ODS)
The ozone hole was reported for the first time on May 16, 1985, by the British Antarctic Survey. It was a result of hyper industrialization, that released man-made chemicals like chlorine and bromine which upon reaching the stratosphere, damaged the ozone layer.
These substances are called ozone-depleting substances or ODS and include chlorofluorocarbons, halons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, carbon tetrachloride, methyl bromide, Methyl chloroform.
The Montreal protocol regulates the production and consumption of nearly 100 man-made chemicals.
India has phased out Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Carbon tetrachloride, Halons, Methyl Bromide, and Methyl Chloroform for controlled uses in line with the Montreal Protocol. Further, it is in the process to phase of hydrochlorofluorocarbons.
Hydrochlorofluorocarbons Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) Stage-I has been successfully implemented from 2012 to 2016 and Hydrochlorofluorocarbons Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) Stage-II is currently under implementation from 2017 and will be completed by 2023.
In addition to this, India has signed up for several green initiatives, like working on cooling space in buildings to address CFCs, solar projects, green railway projects, reduction in emissions, and more. The country has pledged to reduce the emissions intensity of GDP by 33-35% by 2030, of which it has achieved 21%.
India is pioneering to combat climate change. The successful phasing out of ODS is only going to push its efforts in a positive direction. This also indicates that India has met all the obligations of the Montreal Protocol so far, by accessing technical and financial assistance from the financial mechanism of the Montreal Protocol.
India is among the top three nations in the world that are leading towards global renewable energy growth. In terms of renewable energy, India has geared up to have 60% renewable energy i.e, 450 GW by 2030. The India Cooling Action Plan works to build efficient buildings and cool roofs to save energy and reduce heat-trapping hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Furthermore, through FAME (Faster Adoption & Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) the government is promoting E-vehicles and efficiently build the E-vehicle ecosystem in the country.
The green initiatives are building an ecosystem that sets India apart from other nations and is contributing to restoring the environment including the ozone layer. It also shows the involvement of key stakeholders both at the planning as well as implementation levels.