The decolorization and degradation of anionic sulphonated azo dye (Reactive orange 16 (RO16)), which is suspected to be carcinogenic, were investigated using ozone. The decolorization process of the reactive dye was carried out by bubbling ozone at the bottom of a bubble column reactor containing the dye solution. The effect of pH, reaction time, dye concentration, ozone concentration, and decolorization time was studied. Also, degradation products and possible degradation mechanism were investigated. The results showed that ozonation was a highly effective way to remove color from wastewater. The color of a synthetic waste solution containing water-soluble reactive dye was reduced to 69.69 % under the basic condition (pH 12), with complete RO16 degradation occurring in 8 min. Ozone consumption continued for a further 16 min after which time most of the degradation reactions were complete. Kinetic studies showed that direct ozonation of the aqueous dyes represented a pseudo-first-order reaction with respect to the dye. The apparent rate constant increased with both the applied ozone dose and higher pH values and declined logarithmically with the initial dye concentration. Intermediates such as 6-acetylamino-3-aminonaphthalene-2-sulfonic acid, 2-(4-nitrosophenyl) sulfonylethyl hydrogen sulfate, and 6-acetamido-4-hydroxy-3-nitroso naphthalene-2sulfonic acid were detected by gas chromatograph coupled with mass spectrometry in the absence of pH buffer, while nitrate and sulfate ions and formic, acetic, and oxalic acids were detected by ion chromatography.