The ozone layer is a protective blanket of gas that shields us from harmful UV radiation emitted by the Sun. It started to become thinner during the 1970s and in 1985 scientists spotted a seasonal hole over Antarctica, prompting governments to start taking action to prevent further decline.
It’s known that gases such as CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and halons, which were commonly used in products such as refrigerators and aerosols, can accelerate the depletion of ozone in the Earth’s stratosphere, so scientists and politicians across the globe put their heads together in a bid to reduce their use. In 1987, countries all around the world agreed on the Montreal Protocol to subtract these harmful subtances from industrial production and replace them with others. The impact of the Convention is examined every four years at a conference that was held this time in Equador.
As a result of this, the ozone layer can be completely restored above the northern hemisphere by 2030, and the ozone hole may disappear from the top of Antartica in 2060. The ozone layer over the southern hemisphere can be healed by the middle of the century. It was said at a Quito conference.
Paul Newman, leading Earth Scientist at NASA’S Goddard Space Flight Center, noted that if we had continued to emit ozone-depleting subtances to the atmosphere, it would have had a serious consequences, however we succeded to stop that. Without these serious measures the 2/3 of the ozone layer could have been destroyed by 2065.
This year the size of the ozone hole above the southern hemisphere was almost 25 million square kilometer meanwhile in 2006 it was 30 million square kilometer. We reached points in time when the emission was increasing again, but in overall, it’s decreasing, fortunately.
This report also noted that chlorofluorocarbons-emission growth has been measured in East Asia, where CFC gases have been forbidden since 2012, although the emissive country or countries has/have no been identified.
Scientists are saying that it’s not yet a complete success story, we only reached that point where the healing process can start. According to Newman, it is not possible to report total success before 2060, as he said, "it will be up to our grandchildren to do it."
Without the Montreal Protocol, it is estimated that atmospheric levels of these gases could have increased tenfold by 2050. Furthermore, according to the UNEP, the protocol will have prevented some two million cases of skin cancer annually by 2030, alongside protecting wildlife and agriculture.
Personally it was thrilling to read these information because nowadays we hear so much bad about environmental issues that we have to face, finally it was something good that we have achieved by global collaboration. My other reason was that when I was younger, when we started to have environment classes in primary school this was the first big problem that I got to know about. Now as I recall I haven’t really heard news about it, this was the first after a lot of time that I read something regarding to this topic and I am really happy about it. Hopefully, this will contribute to the fight against the global warming, as the hole becoming smaller and smaller and the layer becoming thicker it can protect the Earth more effectively from the Sun. On one hand we are on the right track to tackle one huge problem that contributes to the global warming on some level, but on the other hand those subtances that we use now to avoid damaging the ozone layer are causing the global warming. Anyway this is huge success, just imaging what could have happaned to the nature, wildlife, how many lives were saved from getting cancer and danger of food supply because of the agricultural damage was eliminated this way. At least from the aspect. It gives us hope for other problems.