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A look back on World Ozone Day – What can I do?

2 minute read

World Ozone Day falls on the 16th of September every year – the day was celebrated across the globe again this year. As the year rushes by, it’s worth thinking about what we can do to help preserve the ozone layer.

Commemorating the date the Montreal Protocol was signed in 1984, this international awareness day is also known as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, aims to spread awareness of saving the ozone layer.

Protecting Earth and all living things on it from the sun’s biologically harmful ultraviolet radiation rays, the ozone layer extends over the entire globe with some variation in altitude and thickness. Primarily located in the upper part of the atmosphere called the stratosphere, the ozone layer is integral to the health of the planetary ecosystems and consequently our own.

In excessive quantities, ozone near the Earth’s surface disrupts the fine balancing act needed to preserve life on Earth. Formed by reactions involving human-made pollutant gases, too little and too much ozone can be bad for us – what can we do about it?

As road users, there are a few things we can do to decrease our carbon footprint and release fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Step 1 – leave the car in the garage.

Step 2 – stretch and opt for walking or cycling instead. Not only is cycling or walking a healthier alternative to get to places, breathing in the fresh air and soaking up some vitamin D brings big physical and mental health benefits.

Step 3 – take public transport. Even during lockdown, public transport still runs. Taking public transport helps reduce energy consumption, harmful carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions and congestion on roads. By taking public transport instead of individual vehicles, less pollution and carbon emissions are produced.

As the race to go green spurs on, the demand for electric vehicles continues to rise in Australia. While there is debate on the greenness of electric vehicles, they do indeed produce fewer emissions and have a lower carbon footprint compared with vehicles that use traditional, internal combustion engines which run on fuel.

With that in mind, it helps to take a look at what other cities around the world are doing and where we, as a nation, stand in relation to EV uptake and sustainable transport.

Promoting cleaner, alternative energy sources, Norway provides great incentives for drivers to opt for electric vehicles. Import fees, VAT and road tax are axed and facilities supporting EVs are publicly financed. In what may be a shocking move, Paris cut down nearly all their speed limits to 30km/h to encourage more drivers to ditch their mobile vehicles for greener modes of transport just a few weeks ago.

Last year, Luxembourg scrapped all public transport fees as a way to invest in and encourage the use of public transport as well as to reduce the use of individual vehicles. All trains, buses and trams are free for residents and non-residents alike. With public transport a popular option for Australians, this would be an initiative few would argue against.

What’s something you think Australia should take on?

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