JIS News

Jamaica today (Sept.16), joins more than 150 countries around the world in observing International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.
The day, which marks the 19th anniversary of the 1987 signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, is being commemorated under the theme: ‘Protect the Ozone Layer, Save Life on Earth.’
As party to the protocol, Jamaica is in full compliance with its stipulations, and with the phasing out of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as at January 1, 2006, leads the rest of the Caribbean in minimizing dependency on ozone-depleting substances. Manager of the Ozone Unit at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Nicole Walker, informed JIS News that the day was really to draw attention to the fact that the ozone layer was being destroyed and to sensitise citizens on how they could help to halt the process.
The Unit has been engaging in public awareness activities throughout the week, targeting schools such as Windward Road, Clan Carthy and Alpha Primary schools, with messages relating to ozone preservation.
“Students were very enthusiastic and very eager to hear what we had to say,” Miss Walker told JIS News, noting that the students were advised on how to protect themselves from excessive sun exposure, as well as what they and their parents could do to help preserve the ozone layer.
In addition to these activities, the Ozone Unit has scheduled media interviews, as well as an outdoor radio broadcast from the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Library on Power 106 FM, starting at 10:00 a.m. today.
Miss Walker informed that activities planned for International Ozone Day were being complemented by the ongoing education initiatives of NEPA’s Public Education and Community Outreach Branch.
The current thrust is to promote the use of alternatives to CFCs by technicians, particularly those in the refrigeration sector. Additionally, the Unit is discouraging attempts to import CFCs, as a ban is in place on these substances.
Turning to the negative impact on human health, which results from the depletion of the ozone layer, Miss Walker said: “we are encouraging safe practices such as wearing long sleeve shirts, long pants, and broad-rimmed hats if you are out in the sun for extensive periods.” She also recommended the use of sun blocks to protect the skin against harmful ultra violet (UV) rays.