The Cabinet Secretary for Environment Prof. Judi Wakhungu has appealed to Kenyans to actively participate in the preservation of the Ozone layer in an effort to forestall the dangers associated to its destruction.
Prof. Wakhungu warned that depletion of the Ozone layer had harmful effects to humans and called for collective efforts in its protection to safe to secure lives. She observed that skin cancer, eye cataracts, reduced plant and animal productivity, poor air quality, damage to plastics and negative impact on the climate were among the dangerous effects of destruction of the Ozone layer.
The CS made the remarks in a speech read on her behalf by the Principal Secretary for Environment Mr. Charles Sunkuli during the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone layer held at Kihoto grounds, Naivasha on 16.09.16. The ozone layer is a deep layer from 10 km to 50 km above the earth’s surface and encircling the Earth. The layer shields the entire Earth from much of the harmful ultraviolet radiation that comes from the sun.
The ozone layer became widely understood by the public after it was realized that certain chemicals manufactured by human beings known as chlorofluorocarbons, widely used as refrigerants, propellants in aerosol applications, and solvents find their way up into the stratosphere where, through chemical reactions, they destroy some of the ozone.
Following this discovery, an international treaty was signed in 1973 called the Montreal Protocol that led to reduced manufacture of these chemicals. Kenya is signatory and ratified other consequent protocols.
“The country has made progress in phasing out Ozone depleting Substances in most applications and has at the same time adopted Ozone-friendly technologies that are now being used” Prof. Wakhungu added. The CS noted however, that the world will need to phase out hydro- fluorocarbons that were also associated with adverse effects of climate change.
She emphasized that Preservation of the Ozone Layer is one of the major environmental concerns for the world adding that her Ministry in partnership with stakeholders were supporting industries and agricultural enterprises to shift from using Ozone Depleting to friendly alternatives.
Prof. Wakhungu disclosed that training of refrigeration and air-conditioning service technicians was being carried out on best practices in prevention of the substances that deplete the Ozone. Similarly the CS observed that the Ministry of Environment had partnered with customs and Revenue Authority to control the importation of the harmful substances.