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MEC Somyo commemorates World Ozone Day in East London, Eastern Cape Province

16 September 2014

 

The Eastern Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Development, Environment & Tourism, Mr Sakhumzi Somyo, today, 16 September 2014 celebrated World Ozone Day with the communities and learners within the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, at Eco Park, Mdantsane, East London, Eastern Cape.

World Ozone Day is a product of the Montreal Protocol Convention under the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), seeking to protect the ozone layer by phasing out ozone depleting substances.

South Africa is party to both the Vienna Convention for the protection of Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the ozone layer.

The International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is celebrated annually on the 16th September. This day has been marked by the UNEP to commemorate the 16 September 1987, when a group of twenty-four countries came together and signed the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer.

This year World Ozone Day celebrations took place under the theme, “Ozone Layer Protection: The Mission Goes On.”

The Montreal Protocol has so far been successful in meeting some of its targets in phasing out ozone-depleting substances. As a result, the ozone layer is expected to recover around the middle of this century. There are, however, some remaining challenges in the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances. This year’s theme seeks to galvanize all stakeholders and Parties to the Protocol/Governments to increase their efforts to address the challenges.

The World Ozone Day event intended to raise awareness on harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Through this event the Department also sought to encourage, inform and prepare the learners in Eastern Cape to pursue careers on chemicals management to ensure that amongst others the mission of ensuring the protection of the ozone layer is continued.

The day started with a visit to DEFY in East London, a company that is transitioning from gasses that deplete the Ozone layer to the ones that are ozone friendly. The relationship between DEFY and the Department of Environmental Affairs is a good example of industry working together with government for the good of the environment.

At the same time, there was also a cleanup campaign hosted by the Buffalo City Municipality in partnership with the Provincial and National Departments of Environmental Affairs. This was to bring awareness and encourage communities to live in clean environment. The main event was a competition between five high schools from Mdantsane. The schools presented items whose purpose was to raise awareness on Ozone layer issues and what individuals and communities can do to protect the Ozone layer.

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Albi Modise
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