A new study in science states that the earth’s protective ozone layer is healing. This has occured due the global efforts in the 1980s to reduce CFC and other destructive chemicals. This happens to be one of the greatest success stories of all times.
Situation in the 1970s
It was the 1970s that the scientists first realized that we were exhausting Earth’s stratospheric ozone layer which protects us from the ultraviolet rays.
Reason behind the depletion
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), a chemical which is widely used in air conditioners and refrigerators was eating up huge a hole in the Ozone layer above Antarctica and the damage was estimated to spread further north.
Harmful effects of Ozone layer depletion
- More people would be effected by the ultraviolet rays.
- Skin Cancer rates would increase.
- The UV rays would also harm the crops and the marine food chain.
Scientists found out a solution in time
Under the 1987 Montreal Protocol world leaders decided to phase out CFC. They continued despite the warnings that abolishing chemicals would incur steep costs. The Ozone layer stopped expanding.
Latest Good News
- Latest study by scientists in MIIT and elsewhere discovered fingerprints over the ozone layer, which suggests that the ozone layer is on its way to healing.
- The Ozone hole has seen to be shrunk by some 4 million square kilometers since 2000.
The Healing Process
- The 2014 video shows us the entire healing process.
- There was minimum concentration of Ozone layer from 1979 to 2013.
- The thinning of the Ozone layer continued in the 1980s and the 1990s even after the agreement to phase out CFC.
- In 2006 another major hole appeared.
- But recently the hole has started shrinking and the ozone concentrations have started reviving itself.
- The United Nations assessment has predicted that the ozone layer will fully recover by 2050.
- “There are positive indications that the ozone layer is on track to recovery towards the middle of the century,” said UN Undersecretary General Achim Steiner.
Just because the world came together and saved the ozone layer doesn’t mean that all the other major environment problems will also be so easily solved. But the case of the Ozone layer is the best example of an international cooperation to stop an ecological disaster.
Other side effects
As many industries had curbed the use of CFC, they started using Hydrofluorocarbons(HFC). They do not harm the ozone layer, but many of them are strong greenhouse gases. The HFC is also the cause behind global warming and is also affecting the climate of the country.
“They currently contribute about 0.5 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions per year. These emissions are growing at a rate of about 7 percent per year. Left unabated, they can be expected to contribute very significantly to climate change in the next decades.”
Many environment groups have urged the nations of the World to revisit the Montreal Protocol and this time curb HFC in favour of chemicals like HFO-1234YF that are harmless for the ozone layer and will not even warm the planet. In June 2016 the United States and India reached a side agreement to solve the Montreal Protocol in this fashion. Many companies in the United States, such as DuPont, Coca-Cola, and Target, have promised to move away from using HFC as a refrigerant and opt for less harmful options.