Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Earth’s ozone layer is finally healing, UN says

The ozone layer of the atmosphere will be repaired by 2020 Image The ozone layer of the atmosphere will be repaired by 2030
Elijah Vega | 08 November, 2018, 06:38

These risky substances were tearing a hole in the ozone layer, and if not improved, could lead to dangers ultraviolet radiation exposure to animals, humans, and plants.

The earth's protective ozone layer is well on track to recovery, thanks to worldwide efforts against ozone-depleting substances.

If this rate of recovery continues, the ozone layer over the northern hemisphere and mid-latitudes could heal completely by the 2030s, the report said.

The measures taken to fix the damage will also have an important beneficial effect on climate change, as some of the gases that caused the ozone layer to thin and in places disappear also contribute to warming the atmosphere.

It prevents damage to the earth's ecosystems and provides protection against skin cancer. Recent reports have found that emissions of a banned CFC are increasing in China - something the Chinese government has vowed to crack down on.

An global agreement called the Montreal Protocol made sure that businesses came up with replacements for these damaging products.

The ozone layer's recuperation has been credited to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which mandated that countries phase out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting chemicals.

The scientific assessment, released at a conference in Ecuador today, was described as "really good news" by Paul Newman, chief Earth scientist at Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center.

"Evidence presented by the authors shows that the ozone layer in parts of the stratosphere has recovered at a rate of 1-3 per cent per decade since 2000", UN Environment and the World Meteorological Organisation said. Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment Programme, said, "The careful mix of authoritative science and collaborative action that has defined the Protocol for more than 30 years and was set to heal our ozone layer is precisely why the Kigali Amendment holds such promise for climate action in future".

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The report also said it was the first time the hole in the ozone layer had shrunk in both size and depth and size since 2000.

The ozone layer starts about six miles above Earth.

As a result, in 1985 a gaping hole in the ozone over the South Pole was discovered.

Another problem is that new technology has found an increase in emissions of a banned CFC out of East Asia, the report noted.

And the replacements to CFCs that are now being used to cool cars and refrigerators need to be replaced with other chemicals because they worsen global warming, Mr Newman said.

Now scientists say the ozone layer is making a comeback and will make a full recovery in 42 years.

This healing progress is attributed to worldwide initiatives under the Montreal Protocol, a global agreement that was formed more than 30 years ago in response to climate change concerns.

Mr Newman added: "I don't think we can do a victory lap until 2060, ' he said".

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