LASEPA, experts want halt in activities depleting ozone layer
Environmentalists have called for caution in human activities and the use of substances that deplete the ozone layer.
They stated the need to halt the use of unwanted substances in refrigerators, air conditioners, fire extinguishers, car emissions, aerosols, and agriculture fumigants, foam, and in solvents for cleaning electronic equipment.
The ozone layer is a protective shield that blocks the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays from reaching the earth’s surface and negatively impacting humans, but the layer is inundated by man-made chemicals known as Ozone-Depleting Substances(ODS).
Scientific research has proved that the natural balance of stratospheric ozone has been damaged by the production and release into the atmosphere of ozone-depleting substances, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), halons, methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, hydro-chloro-fluorocarbons (HCFCs), and methyl bromide.
If the earth has no ozone left, and a solar flare strikes Earth, it would be much more damaging than if we had the ozone there to soak up some of the UV.
Speaking at a webinar hosted by the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) to mark the World Ozone Day, a lecturer at the University of Lagos, Dr. Kelechi Njoku explained that there are many harmful effects of ozone layer depletion. These, he said include, damage to DNA that leads to mutation, damage to skin cells, and aging of the skin, cause various types of cancers, snow blindness, and cataract.
He said the main effect of ozone depletion is an increase in UV-B rays, which means a higher risk of skin cancer, eye cataracts, and blindness.
According to him, if humans doesn’t stop activities that deplete the ozone layers, food, and water security won’t be guaranteed while ecosystem sustainability and human well being would be endangered.
Njoku who lectures in the Department of Cell Biology and Genetic stressed need for proper implementation of existing restrictions on ozone-depleting substances and replace ODS with environmentally friendly materials.
“We need to switch from the use of personal cars to public transport to reduce numbers of car emitting substances that could deplete the ozone layer, limit transportation network by manufacturing materials needed locally. Use renewable energies, stop deforestation, avoid excessive use of fertilisers /pesticides, recycle and re-use materials”, he said.
A professor of Chemistry, University of Lagos, Babajide Alo said Ozone depletion has been an important phenomenon recognized a long time ago, which has prompted Nigeria to join the global countries in signing treaties stopping the depletion.
The former Chairman, Independent Scientific Panel on the Use of Benzoic Acid in Carbonated Drinks in Nigeria commended Nigeria for sustaining its involvement in the environmental-oriented endeavor.
He charged Nigerians to stop patronizing the use of cheap gas, which he said, isn’t good for the environment.
Earlier, LASEPA General Manager, Dr. Dolapo Fasawe urged the people to remain united in protecting the ozone layer and keeping to the terms of the ozone protection treaty signed in Canada about 35 years ago.
This years’ commemoration attracted students of Birch Freeman High School, Lagos who advocated the need to cut down on ozone depletion substances through their presentation and the national president, Association of Refrigerator and Air Conditioning Practitioners (NARAP), Mr. John Akhabue.
Akhabue told the participants that there has been good practice in the refrigerator industry as the majority of its members have been trained to meet the terms of protocol for safe places and protection of the Ozone layer.
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