For a time, things were looking grave. The world’s scientists were warning that the hole in the ozone layer — you know, that shield in the Earth’s atmosphere that protects us from harmful radiation — was potentially permanent.
But thanks to international efforts like the Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol, the ozone’s on the road to recovery. Wonderfully, there’s every reason to believe a full recovery is possible in our lifetime.
But while there’s much to be grateful for, environmental experts say we’re not out of the woods yet.
It seems that while the world has successfully cut the use of ozone-depleting substances, some of the chemicals we have replaced them with might actually be trapping heat and worsening global warming.
That being said, it’s certainly still within the power of governments, corporations, and even everyday people to better the current situation. At QNET, we are cultivating a greener culture by developing products that are safe for the environment, moving to more eco-friendly packaging, and promoting sustainable practices.
In conjunction with World Ozone Day, here’s a reminder of the things we can do to fix the ozone and fight climate change:
Among the biggest reasons for ozone depletion are chemical compounds called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were widely used in aerosols, refrigerators and air conditioners.
Thanks to a global phase-out of CFCs, that’s not the case anymore.
But older fridges and air conditioning units may still use the compound. What owners of equipment like this need to do is to get them serviced and cleaned regularly.
That last thing you want is a malfunction that’ll cause CFCs to leak and escape into our atmosphere.
Read the label
When CFCs were being phased out, they were temporarily replaced by a compound called hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).
HCFCs aren’t as hazardous to the ozone as CFCs, but they’re still bad news. This is why they’re also being eliminated from use.
So when you’re buying cleaning products, a new fridge or air-cond, look for labels that read “HCFC free” or “energy efficient”.
Energy-efficient products also have the added benefit of saving you money. Double win!
Cool it smart
There’s really no avoiding using air conditioning when you live in hot and humid environments.
But before splurging on a 5HP unit, you may need to think about whether you need such a powerful unit.
With proper planning, it’s usually not too difficult to cool spaces without air conditioning.
Blinds and window tinting, for example, can keep the heat from the sun out. If you do have to use an air-cond though, make sure you get the right size.
Also, think about using fans instead. They conserve more energy than air-cons!
Reduce vehicle use
Speaking of air-conditioning, we may feel we need it when we get into our cars. Sure. But do we really need four people in four different vehicles heading to the same venue?
By sharing rides and/or using public transport, you’re not only able to prevent excess carbon emissions — which improves air quality — but also reduce the production of a compound called “ground-level ozone”.
What’s that? In a nutshell, ground-level ozone is “bad ozone”, which doesn’t protect us the way the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere does.
Formed when sunlight interacts with chemicals emitted from vehicles, it causes a host of environmental and health problems.
Thus, using public transport, biking, carpooling or walking greatly helps. As an extra bonus, you greatly save on gas too!
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