A Bhutanese farmer enters the scene. He disposes a refrigerator in an open area. Suddenly polluting carbonaceous gases rise from the refrigerator and create a hole in the ozone layer up in the sky. Through the hole, harmful rays of the sun hit the farmer and he is in pain.
Then enters Ozzy Ozone, the universal ozone mascot. Ozzy Ozone tells the farmer how the ultraviolet rays of the sun is harming him and that it followed after he disposed his refrigerator in the open area. The farmer then disposes his refrigerator properly.
This short animated series is a section of a Bhutanized version of Ozzy Ozone documentary which is part of the initiative taken by Bhutan to create awareness to protect the ozone layer.
About two decades ago, a large hole was discovered in the ozone shield around the earth over the South Pole. It was attributed to the use of long range of chemicals called Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS). Today, after a global initiative the production and consumption of the ODS have been cut by more than 98%.
Bhutan has done its share.
“The entire international community has worked hard toward reversing this trend, and now with every country in the world being a member to the Montreal Protocol, the efforts have paid off through signs that suggest that the vital shield protecting us is regenerating,” said the vice chair of the National Environment Commission (NEC) and the works and human settlement minister, Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba, at the international day for the preservation of the ozone layer in Thimphu on September 16.
Enormous efforts have been put in place to ensure Bhutan’s success. Many activities have been carried out which include retrofitting of industries, training of trainers, technicians and custom officials.
“We have overcome the daunting task of meeting the obligations of the stipulated ODS phase out timeframe ensuring compliance with the phase out schedule of 50% reduction of CFC consumption in the country by January 2005, and 85% reduction by 2008 and then completely in 2010,” said the secretary of NEC Ugyen Tshewang.
Bhutan is now working toward phasing out HCFC from the country. Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba said that by starting the implementation of the phase out, Bhutan can achieve dual benefits of combating climate change as well as protecting the ozone layer.
“We have made much progress, but the coming years will be critical in seeing the job through with the implementing of the HCFC phase out,” he said.
The minister added that Bhutan’s enviable reputation in environment conservation thus far is testimony of its commitment of pursuing sustainable development based on the philosophy of Gross National Happiness which underscores that development cannot be pursued on the premise of economic growth alone but has to take place in combination with the emotional and spiritual wellbeing of the people.
The Secretary General of United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, in his ozone day address, applauded the role played by the Montreal Protocol in the fight to protect the ozone layer and also labeled the issue as similar to climate change. “It has already averted greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to more than 135 billion tons of carbondioxide, and will continue to play an important role,” he said.
Ozone depleting substances are certain manmade chemicals which have a high potential to deplete the ozone layer. These include CFC, HCFC, Methyl Bromide, Carbon Tetra Chloride and Halons.
In Bhutan, ODS are commonly used in refrigeration, air conditioning, fire fighting, aerosols, and as solvents for cleaning applications in industries.