Hello, my fellow Lebanese. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. Today, I would like to talk about another environmental topic that I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with: the ozone layer.

The ozone layer is in the upper atmosphere, between about 15 and 30 kilometers in altitude, and absorbs solar ultraviolet radiation. Without it, we receive more and more of the suns rays. The ozone layer is thinning due to the amount of pollutants we release into the atmosphere. This leads to desertification and climate change. For us as humans, it increases the risk of skin cancer, heat stroke, and other health problems.

 Luckily, there is something we can do to stop it. We must switch from ozone-harming chemicals to ozone-friendly substances. Indeeed, Lebanon signed the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which declares the need to phase out the production and consumption of compounds that deplete ozone layer.

Our national committments were the following benchmarks by 2005: reducing carbon tetrachloride by 85 percent, CFCs and halons by 50 percent, methyl chloroform by 30 percent and methyl bromide by 20 percent. While we have made some progress, we have not reached these targets.

At the level of the individual, we can do our part to help protect our ozone layer, and thus prevent desertification and climate change. We can avoid buying products with ozone depleting substances in them. It is just as easy as looking on the back and seeing the type of chemicals are in the product. Typically, such substances exist in pesticides, refrigerator coolants, flourinated gases in our air conditioning and heating systems, halons, and foams. One in particular is worth mentioning. A pesticide used in Lebanon illegally is methyl bromide, which is an ozone depleting substance. If we avoiding using this in our agriculture and use alternative substances, we can help save the ozone layer.

To find out about the different alternatives to products that are harmful to the ozone layer follow this link: http://www.ifc.org/ifcext/enviro.nsf/AttachmentsByTitle/p_ppah_pguiOzone/$FILE/HandbookOzoneDepletingSubstancesAlternatives.pdf

If we avoid using such products and buy products that have alntertive ozone-friendly chemicals instead, we help our environment, help our health, and prevent climate change and desertification. All we need to do is look on the label, or inquire more about the product. Let’s save ourselves and our country. We can do it!

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