The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is encouraging Jamaicans to play their part in preserving the ozone layer as the country prepares to mark World Ozone Dayon September 16.
Acting Public Relations Officer at NEPA, Shahri Miller, said there are non-ozone-depleting practices that Jamaicans can adopt as part of their daily lives.
“There are things that we can do on a consistent basis that will be helpful in preserving the layer.
“Things such as using your appliances responsibly and getting them checked for leaks and getting licensed technicians to work on them. Also, disposing of your appliances properly; ensuring that you de-ice your refrigerator; and ensuring that you crack open a couple of windows to let the hot air out before you start the air-conditioning in your car,” she added.
Ms. Miller, who was addressing a JIS Think Tank on September 11, further encouraged persons to access and read information about the ozone layer and lobby for environmental policy changes.
World Ozone Day 2019 is being observed under the theme ‘32 Years and Healing’.
NEPA will mark the day by visiting the St. Francis Primary and Infant and Wolmer’s Preparatory schools in St. Andrew to share information with the students about the importance of the ozone layer.
“We believe that if you inform the younger generation, they can be a great influence on their parents, their teachers and to everyone around them. We also have information on our social media pages, and we are trying to work with everyone to ensure that they understand why this day is important to them,” Ms. Miller said.
The ozone is a layer of the Earth’s atmosphere that acts as a filter for the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. The hole in the ozone layer increases exposure to the risks of UV radiation such as skin cancer, among other effects.
“An increase in the size of the hole is detrimental to all of us. It is the introduction of even more harmful UV rays that can increase the number of health issues that people have, like heat stroke.You’re looking at damage to properties and buildings and crops due to the increased heat,” Ms. Miller explained.
The NEPA Acting Public Relations Officer pointed out that the rise in temperatures could lead to an increase in the use of air-conditioning and refrigeration units that emit ozone-depleting substances.
These substances are being phased out globally in order to fully heal the hole in the ozone.
Since the ratification of the Montreal Protocol 32 years ago to protect the ozone, the hole in the layer has been healing at a rate of one to three per cent per annum.
NEPA is encouraging persons and businesses to contact the entity or visit the social media pages @nepajamaica and @nepajm, for more information on how to become more eco-friendly.
“As Jamaicans, we all have to be a part of it if we want to look at preserving the ozone layer and improving the environment. When it comes to the environment, there is a balance to be created between human existence and the preservation of the environment, so we champion any move that is going to do that,” Ms. Miller said.