Ozone: The Earth’s protective shield is repairing

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Context:

  • The ozone layer which is a part of the stratosphere has recovered at a rate of 1-3 percent per decade since 2000 said by U.N. Environment and the World Meteorological Organization.
  • Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone is scheduled to heal completely by the 2030s followed by the Southern Hemisphere in the 2050s and Polar Regions by 2060.

About Ozone Layer:

  • An ozone layer is a colourless form of a specific type of oxygen molecule that protects Earth from ultraviolet rays that can cause skin cancer, eye problems and crop damage.
  • The chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) effectively began eating away at the ozone.
  • CFCs were found in things like spray cans, fridges, foam insulation and air conditioners.
  • As a result, in 1985 a gaping hole in the ozone over the South Pole was discovered.

How bad did it get?

  • At its worst in the late 1990s, about 10% of the upper ozone layer was depleted.
  • But since 2000, it has begun to increase again by about 3% per decade, according to the UN report.

Agreement to Protect the Ozone

  • An international agreement called the Montreal Protocol which banned or phased out ozone-depleting chemicals, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
  • 180 countries signed up to it.
  • In signing the protocol, those countries agreed to phase out chemicals like CFCs.

Source:BBC