35 years ago, every nation in the world made a commitment to stop using substances that harm the ozone layer. The ozone layer, simply put- Earth’s sunscreen is healing!
The ozone layer is a layer of gas that surrounds the Earth and protects it from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It is located in the stratosphere, about 15 to 30 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. In the 1970s and 1980s, scientists discovered that the ozone layer was being depleted, mainly due to the use of certain chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons in products such as refrigerators, air conditioners, aerosol sprays, etc.
The depletion of the ozone layer was causing an increase in UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface, which was linked to a rise in diseases, as well as damage to crops and marine life. In 1987, the United Nations established the Montreal Protocol, which banned the production and use of CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances.
Since the implementation of the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer has been healing. The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica, which had grown to its largest size in the late 1990s, has been steadily shrinking. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the hole in the ozone layer is expected to fully heal by 2066. However, the healing process is slow, and the ozone layer is not yet fully repaired.
While the healing of the ozone layer is a positive development, it’s essential to continue efforts to protect it. Climate change also impacts the ozone layer, as warmer temperatures can slow down the healing process. As responsible citizens and as our duty we need to do what we can as a little goes a lot along the way.
- Plant trees and support reforestation projects to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
- Reduce energy consumption by using energy-efficient appliances, turning off lights and electronics when not in use, and using natural light whenever possible.
- Use public transportation, carpool, or bike to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Think of environmentally friendly gifts for occasions and festivals. For example, gift them a tree; honour your guests with trees; welcome employees with trees; or celebrate birthdays, weddings, engagements or even plant a tree in memory of your loved one.
The healing of the ozone layer is a positive development, but it’s crucial to keep in mind that our actions can have a direct impact on the health of the planet.