Saudi Arabia joins global initiative to protect ozone layer

Saudi Arabia is to take part in a global initiative to protect the ozone layer.

The Kingdom, represented by the National Center for Environmental Compliance, will on Thursday join celebrations to mark the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.

On Sept. 16, 1987, more than 190 countries signed the Montreal Protocol to determine the procedures to be followed at a global level for the phasing out of ozone-depleting substances.

The ozone layer is a thin part of the Earth’s atmosphere that absorbs most of the ultraviolet radiation from the Sun but when depleted more UV radiation can reach the surface potentially harming humans and other living things.

NCEC spokesman, Abdullah Al-Mutairi, said: “The National Strategy for the Environment represents an important pillar that distinguishes the Kingdom from others, as it takes into account Saudi Arabia’s leading value regionally and internationally and its remarkable leadership in the environmental aspect in general, and those aspects related to the preservation of the ozone layer in particular.”

He pointed out that the Kingdom had confirmed its active partnership and seriousness in adopting the Montreal Protocol by entrusting the NCEC with the job of implementing regulations governing ozone-depleting substances and hydrofluorocarbons (better known as HFCs).

These compounds are characterized by their chemical stability in the near-surface atmosphere and contain one or more atoms of chlorine, bromine, or both, kicking off sequential interactions in the upper atmosphere stratosphere, leading to ozone depletion.

Al-Mutairi noted the NCEC’s ongoing coordination and cooperation with the UN Environment Program.

“The Kingdom’s positive presence extends to legislation to cooperate with all environmental entities worldwide and join hands to preserve and sustain the components of a rich environment, preparing and implementing mentoring programs and providing awareness materials, as well as organizing meetings and workshops to implement this important protocol, supporting partnerships with the government and private sectors so as to promote environmental work and enhance its technologies,” he added.

The center’s spokesman also highlighted efforts by international partners to exchange information and expertise and conduct relevant studies with private sector organizations to provide environmentally friendly technologies in the Kingdom that contributed to the sustainability of the ozone layer.

He said that the center worked with relevant authorities to regulate the import and export of substances harmful to the ozone layer and implement programs and activities that reduced ozone pollution and degradation.

The NCEC was also responsible for organizing several training programs to raise skill levels among technicians and other practitioners involved in environmental work, Al-Mutairi added.