A new report from the United Nations brings some good news. The ozone layer shows signs that it has started to heal.
The report was published on Nov. 5, Monday, as part of the ongoing mission to monitor the recovery of the ozone layer in the stratosphere. The committee has seen a significant decrease in ozone-depleting substances this year, leading to a 1 to 3 percent recovery rate since the year 2000.
Ozone Layer Update
The ozone layer serves to protect life on Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays cast by the sun. Without the ozone layer, the harmful ultraviolet rays can cause biological problems and serious diseases such as skin cancer.
The emission of pollution containing chemicals such as chlorine and bromine has caused the ozone layer to deplete. However, due to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, the environmental agreement to decrease ozone-depleting substances, the ozone layer continues to recover.
The region of the ozone layer protecting the northern hemisphere and the mid-latitudes is expected to completely heal by the 2030s. The depleted ozone over the southern hemisphere and the polar regions are expected to recover by 2050s and 2060s respectively.
“The Montreal Protocol is one of the most successful multilateral agreements in history for a reason,” stated Erik Solheim, the head of UN Environment. “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.”
The Future Of The Ozone Layer
While there has been significant progress and the world is on track of achieving its goal, the efforts to rid the atmosphere of ozone-depleting substances from aerosols and refrigeration systems continue.
Next year, the Montreal Protocol will be further improved with the Kigali Amendment, which will prevent the future use of climate-warming gases in home appliances such as air conditioners and refrigerators. The Kigali Amendment was passed by delegates from all over the world in 2016.
The “Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2018” report is made available to the public on the Montreal Protocol’s website.