Only a week ago, a report was issued that a banned chemical, chlorofluorocarbon (CFC-11), that destroys the ozone layer was being released from somewhere in Asia. Now, an international team of researchers claims to have discovered the source of the CFC-11 emissions. The results have been published in Environmental Science & Technology.
The substance in question is a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) called CFC-11, and it was once used in refrigerators. But in 2006, the production of CFC-11 was banned under the Montreal Protocol, which regulates chemicals that damage the ozone layer.
However, on May 16th, Stephen Montzka of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and his colleagues revealed that the reduction of CFC-11 levels decreased by 50%, suggesting that someone was emitting CFC-11. The researchers found that the emissions come from Eastern Asia.
Poor recycling techniques in China are the culprit for the CFC-11 emissions increase, a new report says
A research paper released recently found that some CFC-11 emissions could be due to poor recycling of discarded refrigerators in China. “There has been a lesser global emphasis on collecting such refrigerants at the end of their lives,” said Reed Miller from the Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut, USA, who participated in the research led by Huabo Duan at Shenzhen University in China.
The team found that informal repair shops often simply cut refrigerators which include the foam containing CFCs and sold the metal as scrap metal. Miller argues that China’s refrigerator recycling problems are “a potential contributor” to additional CFC-11 emissions.
For more accurate data could be to feed data on CFC-11 levels in Asia into computer models and track emissions directly to their sources. If the emissions come from a large region, I would suggest that recycling is a culprit, while a point source would involve a region, company or industry.
Although we take the ozone layer for granted, its presence is fundamental to the existence of life on Earth. Not only that weakening of the ozone layer causes respiratory disease but one study found that a hole in the ozone layer had caused the great extinction at the End-Permian era.