LAUNCH OF THE NATIONAL ATMOSPHERIC WEEK 2003, 15 - 19 SEPTEMBER 2003
South Africans from all walks will join the rest of the world to celebrate the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer on 16 September 2003. The official celebration will take place in Kgalagadi District in the Northern Cape.
The ozone layer is the shield in the sky protecting life on earth from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This layer is, therefore, very important in protecting plant and animal life, including human beings, from UV-B, which in high doses can damage natural life. Depletion of the ozone layer results in increased UV radiation reaching the earth's surface, which in turn can lead to a greater chance of over exposure to UV radiation and the related health effects of skin cancer, cataracts, and immune suppression.
The General Assembly of the United Nations has designed 16 September of each year as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer to commemorate the day the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed in 1987. This day provides a unique opportunity for the international community to reflect on the progress that has been made, and to remind decision makers and the public of the need to protect this valuable shield that safeguards our planet. South Africa acceded to the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol in 1990. By the end of 1995 most potent ozone depleting substances in South Africa were phased out due to excellent cooperation throughout the industry and various other stakeholders.
The theme for this year's International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is "SAVE OUR SKY THERE IS A HOLE LOT MORE TO DO FOR OUR CHILDREN".
This event takes place during the National Atmospheric Week, which was launched for the first time in South Africa in 2002. The objective of the atmospheric week is to create general awareness on atmospheric issues; climate change, air quality and the ozone layer protection, the effects thereof as well measures that can be taken to protect oneself from the harmful effects of the UV rays.
The following are the major event that will be taking place across the country to celebrate the Atmospheric Week.
15 SEPTEMBER 2003
* Official Launch of the National Atmospheric Week
Venue: Zamdela - Free State
16 SEPTEMBER 2003
* National celebration of the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.
* Announcement of the Provincial Ozone Layer preservation School poster competition.
Venue: Kgalagadi - Northern Cape
18 SEPTEMBER 2003
* Provincial celebration of the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer
Venue: Dannhauser - KwaZulu-Natal
19 SEPTEMBER 2003
* Launch of the National Climate Change schools competition
Venue: Buffalo City - Eastern Cape
* Atmospheric issues celebration
Venue: Kokstad - KZN
The National Atmospheric Week will be celebrated annually in South Africa to coincide with the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. Let us all join hands to protect and preserve the atmosphere for sustainable development.
Contact details: Molefe Molamu 082 561 6162/012 310 3730
Issued by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, 12 September 2003