Ozone layer recovering at 1 to 3 per cent per decade

A view of the Los Angeles skyline from 4th Street Bridge in 2016

The healing signs of ozone layer was revealed on Monday by a new assessment report on Montreal Protocol (MP), the over 30-year-old global treaty which deals with reduction of ozone-depleting substances. The worldwide agreement compelled the global community to begin the phasing out of ozone-depleting substances like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and halons. This global treaty came into being over 30 years ago in response to the scientific discovery that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances - used in aerosol spray cans, cooling and refrigeration systems - were tearing a hole in the ozone layer, allowing the Sun's ultraviolet radiation to flood through. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center's chief earth scientist and co-head of the report said, "This is really good news". "If ozone-depleting substances had continued to increase, we would have seen huge effects. But we stopped them".

High in the atmosphere, ozone shields Earth from ultraviolet rays that cause skin cancer, crop damage and other problems.

The Protocol was in response to the revelation that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances - used in aerosols, cooling and refrigeration systems, and many other items - were tearing a hole in the ozone layer and allowing unsafe ultraviolet radiation to flood through. Use of man-made chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which release chlorine and bromine, began eating away at the ozone.

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It said the Antarctic ozone hole is expected to gradually close, returning to 1980 levels in the 2060s.

By the late 1990s around 10 per cent of the upper ozone layer had been depleted. Since 2000, it has increased by about 1 to 3 percent per decade, the report said. The hole reaches its peak in September and October and disappears by late December until the next Southern Hemisphere spring.

The report, released by the UN Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) in Ecuador's capital Quito, presents scientific evidence, showing continuous decrease in concentration of ozone-depleting substances at a certain rate since 2000.

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The University of Colorado's Brian Toon, who wasn't part of the report, said the success doesn't mean the fight to save the ozone layer is over just yet.

Mr Newman added: "I don't think we can do a victory lap until 2060, ' he said".

"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".

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