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The ozone layer is slowly recovering from damage due to the concerted efforts of countries that signed the Montreal / ˌmɑn.tɹiˈɔl / Protocol.
The ozone layer is a part of the upper atmosphere that protects the earth’s surface against harmful solar radiation. In 1985, experts found that this layer is depleting due to people’s excessive use of hazardous chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). These are commonly found in aerosol sprays, refrigerators, and air conditioners. CFCs are known to aggravate ozone depletion and global warming.
However, in November, the United Nations reported that the ozone layer is healing from the damage. According to the report, the ozone layer’s recovery rate since 2000 is at around 1% to 3% per decade. Experts also predict that the ozone layer can completely heal by 2060 if the current rates of recovery continue.
Experts attribute the ozone’s recovery to the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement that compels governments to minimize and eliminate the use of ozone-depleting chemicals. According to Durwood Zaelke from the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, the agreement successfully phased down the production of CFCs. He added that this effort also greatly reduced global warming-related problems.
Despite the ozone layer’s recovery, an atmospheric professor from Colorado claims that it is still too early to celebrate. In addition, there is still a growing concern regarding the increased use of CFCs, particularly in China where construction activities cause the emission of CFCs.
Nevertheless, the Chinese government assured that it would track and terminate these construction sites. China is also keen on strengthening its ties with other countries to ensure the Montreal Protocol’s success.