September 11, 2015
The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is urging Jamaicans to practice better sun habits to reduce their risk to sun damage.
The call comes as Jamaica joins the rest of the world in commemorating International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer on Wednesday September 16. This year, special focus is being placed on human health under the slogan "Ozone: All there is between you and UV."
Unprotected exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun causes tanning/sunburn, premature skin ageing and other skin damage and health problems.
Nicol Walker, head of NEPA's Ozone Unit said the impact of sun damage to one's health is important for both light and dark- skinned individuals.
"Not everyone responds to sunlight in the same way - darkly pigmented skin provides some protection, but that protection is not enough. Part of the Agency's education initiative has been to help inform people that they should also protect their skin and eyes," she said.
Walker is especially encouraging parents to teach children how they can protect their skin by wearing caps, long sleeves, using an umbrella and wearing sunscreen.
"Children spend a lot of time outdoors playing; at lunch time during school hours and physical education classes. NEPA is urging parents and guardians to have their young ones develop the habit of applying sunscreen before going into the sun and wearing protective clothing," she said.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer - a significant milestone in the protection of the ozone layer. The theme for celebrating International Ozone Day is, "30 years of healing the ozone together."