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Monitoring of ozone still up in the air

Posted by Kirsty Duncan on September 16, 2012 | No Comments

Today, we celebrate the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer and the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Montréal Protocol to protect the ozone layer.

In 1987, Canada was one of the original parties to the Protocol, largely recognized as the most successful response to a global environmental challenge to date, and took a leadership role in examining the science underlying ozone depletion and in acting to eliminate its causes.

The government should take a lesson from history and accept moral and intergenerational responsibility, rather than cutting much-needed ozone science. In 2011, a new two-million square kilometre hole was discovered in the protective ozone layer over the Arctic. The hole was found because Canada has been the eyes and ears of the world when it comes to ozone monitoring.

After its discovery, the government negligently announced cuts to ozone science. Monitoring is desperately needed because new chemical emissions and climate change might further affect the ozone layer, which protects us from the harmful ultra-violet radiation of the sun.

Despite promises by the government that it will continue to have “research scientists” who use ozone instruments—namely Brewers and ozonesondes—it appears that it has not lived up to this commitment. Environment Canada’s ozone science group was dissolved and its “research scientists” have largely been assigned to “other duties.” Moreover, two weather stations—Bratt’s Lake, Regina, and Egbert, Ontario—have stopped reporting ozonesonde data.

Ontario and Saskatchewan, like New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Quebec, do not have ozone pollution profiling in the lower atmosphere. Moreover there still is no commitment to maintaining the southern stations which are crucial for measuring air quality.  The fate of both Brewer and ozonesonde measurement networks remain up in the air.

While the world dedicates its attention to mitigating the impact we have on our environment and using science to inform decision making, our government is turning out the lights.

Kirsty Duncan

MP, Etobicoke North
Liberal Critic for the environment

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