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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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UN Report Gives Evidence For Restoring The Ozone Layer

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The attempts to heal the ozone layer have been accomplished as hoped and it might just recover within a few years, according to the United Nations. In 1987, an international agreement was sanctioned to prohibit the use of toxic substances that were harming the layer which has been successful, says the major assessment. 

The ozone layer is a thin layer of the Earth’s atmosphere, absorbing the harmful ultraviolet radiations from the Sun. when the layer is damaged, these rays penetrate through the surface, posing a risk to all living beings.

Ultraviolet radiation causes sunburn and increases the risk of skin cancer and damages DNA.

The depletion of the ozone layer began in the 1970s.

The common source responsible for ozone layer depletion is chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), found in refrigerators, air conditioners, and spray cans. 

refrigerators and spray cans contain chlorofluorocarbons
refrigerators and spray cans contain chlorofluorocarbons

An enormous hole was discovered in the layer in the Antarctic by scientists in 1985. Two years later, 46 countries signed the Montreal Protocol to forbid harmful chemicals. This agreement became the first UN treaty to be universally ratified, and almost 99% of the ‘ozone-depleting substances’ have been eliminated.

But it wasn’t until 2000, the ozone hole began recovering, in terms of depth and area. The UN, US and EU agencies produced a report together that says, “The Montreal Protocol is working as hoped”.

It stated that if the current deal is maintained, the ozone layer will improve to 1980 values- before the appearance of the ozone hole – at different parts in different places:

The ozone layer was most depleted in 2066 over the Antarctic.

  • Over the Arctic 2045
  • Within two decades in other places as well.

Though the gaping Antarctic hole is a high risk due to harmful radiation, it is not the main cause of climate change.

Efforts to heal the ozone gap had an advantage against global warming as they banned most of the greenhouse gases, the report says.

Scientists discovered that phase-out prevented up to 1C of warming by mid-century, in comparison to their increased use by 3% every year.

The report gives evidence that international efforts combating the environmental dangers can give some solution, but it also alerts us that the ongoing success of the work on the ozone layer can’t be assured.

To reduce ozone layer depletion and control global warming, one solution can be to release millions of tonnes of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere’s upper layer -called stratospheric aerosol injection.

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