The Ozone Hole Can Be Healed

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The world can make a difference when we all work together. The ozone hole could close before 2060 if the current plan to reduce pollution remains effective, according to a recently published report.

The document, elaborated by the United Nations, notes that an old treaty that stipulates a ban on ozone-depleting chemicals had led to impressive results, as the concentration of chemicals in the air has decreased and dramatic consequences that could have happened in the polar regions have been successfully avoided.

More can be done but this is great news as it means that efforts are actually effective when everyone contributes.

The UN releases new report every four years, and the current one is the fifth. The aim is to monitor the effects of a problem that first appeared in the 1980’s but had long-lasting consequences that are still felt today.

The hole in the ozone air was created by the release of a large number of chemicals that were commonly used in the chemical industry. The harmful gases, namely chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons, could be found in a variety of products, ranging from aerosol cans to refrigerators. Once the chemicals reached the atmosphere, they decomposed and released chlorine, which is able to break down ozone molecules.

As the ozone layer became thinner, more ultraviolet radiation was able to reach the Earth, increasing the risk for skin cancer and other problems. The issue was particularly visible in Antarctica, where a gap in the ozone layer started to appear each year.

In order to reduce further damage, the Montreal Protocol of 1987 banned the use of the damaging chemicals. The ozone hole continues to appear every year but it size has decreased considerably in the recent years. The report also mentions a new study, which notes that the hole has been shrinking since 2000. If all goes well, the hole may eventually disappear in approximately 40 years.


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