According to a new study, the ozone layer is on it’s way towards recovering from the damage done by CFCs and other industrial chemicals. The report indicates that ozone levels in the upper atmosphere are on track to recover to pre 1980s levels by the middle of the century in mid-latitudes and the arctic. The atmosphere above the Antarctic would recover somewhat later.
The improvements have been as a result of the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement struck in 1987 that curbed release of ozone destroying chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons and halons. The agreement has reduced the emissions of these chemicals by 90%. These chemicals used to be used in things like refrigerators, spray cans and fire extinguishers.
Ozone in the upper atmosphere blocks transmission of ultraviolet light from the sun which can damage living organisms. The damage caused by CFCs and other chemicals has caused a global reduction of ozone levels in the atmosphere as well as a large hole in the ozone layer at the South Pole.
“International action on the ozone layer is a major environmental success story,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “This should encourage us to display the same level of urgency and unity to tackle the even greater challenge of climate change. This latest assessment provides solid science to policy-makers about the intricate relationship between ozone and climate and the need for mutually-supportive measures to protect life on earth for future generations.”
More information on the latest research can be read in the United Nations Environment Program press release.