New Delhi: The 19th international day for preservation of Ozone layer will be observed on September 14 with the theme "a healthy atmosphere, the future we want".
Union minister of Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan will preside over the function at Chennai, a statement from the ministry said Thursday.
"To create greater awareness among the students to protect the Ozone Layer, different competitions for the school students are arranged each year with active participation of the schools," it said.
On the occasion, Natarajan will distribute awards to the winners of competitions to be organised for school students.
International Day offers an opportunity to focus global attention and action on this vital environmental issue, the statement added.
In 1995, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which proclaims September 16 as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone layer, to commemorate the signing of the Montreal Protocol on the substances that deplete the Ozone layer which was signed on September 16, 1987.
India became party to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone layer on March 18, 1991 and the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone layer on June 19, 1992, the statement said.
The protocol was the culmination of decades of research, which established that chemicals containing chlorine and bromine released in atmosphere could damage the ozone layer.
A depleted ozone layer in the stratosphere allows the Ultraviolet-B (UV-B) rays of the Sun to reach the Earth exposing mankind, flora and fauna to its harmful effects.
"According to the World Health Organisation, each year between 12 and 15 million people become blind from cataracts worldwide, of which up to 20 per cent may be caused or enhanced by sun exposure," the statement said.