The hole in the ozone layer formed over Antarctica was discovered by scientists more than thirty years ago, in the 80s. Now, it seems that due to the global ban on hazardous chemicals (chloro-fluorocarbons) has cause the closing of the hole. This is great news with various implications!
CFC was the cause behind the Antarctic ozone layer
Ever since the discovery of the hole in the ozone layers, scientists believed chloro-fluorocarbons (CFCs) were responsible. CFCs are chemicals used in air conditioning units, aerosol sprays, packing materials and more. Once they reach the atmosphere, CFCs are broken down by the ultraviolet rays and they release the chlorine atoms, responsible for the destruction of the ozone layer.
Why is the ozone layer so vital?
The ozone layer is our protective shield against the sun’s radiation and without it, the planet and all of us would be severely affected by the harmful radiation. Some of the devastating effects include severe damage to the environment and the wildlife, skin cancer and cataracts.
The Montreal Protocol banned the use of CFCs
In 1989 the Montreal Protocol was adopted and ozone-killing chemicals were banned. Everyone wondered at the time if it was too late and the effects would be permanent.
NASA decided in 2005 to permanently track the hole in the ozone layer in Antarctica using the Aura satellite. It was difficult to study this hole because ozone depletion occurs in cold weather, but they differ each year.
Now, NASA was able to confirm that the hole is healing. Scientists led by Dr. Susan Strahan from the Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt have reported that the reduction of the CFC levels were responsible for the healing process of the ozone layer. Could this mean the beginning of new bans for other types of chemicals: pesticide, herbicides etc?