Ozone layer is a protection shield that filters UV rays before they fall on earth. Due to the use of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) like aerosol, chlorofluorocarbons, halogenated hydrocarbon etc, this protection layer has been depleting since 1970’s. Depletion of the ozone layer has increased the density of UV rays falling on earth, which can cause serious health issues like skin cancer.
The depletion of ozone layer is also one of main reasons for global warming. After a lot of researches, scientists listed out the ODS in which chlorofluorocarbons were found to be the most harmful substances. In 1987, UN circulated Montreal Protocol and associated agreements to cut down the use of Ozone Depleting Substances. Chlorofluorocarbons were the main compounds used in refrigerators till mid 90’s. Hydrochlorofluorocarbons were found to be the best replacement for chlorofluorocarbons. Many such Ozone Depleting Substances were replaced with appropriate alternatives to control the depletion of Ozone layer.
The successful implementation of Montreal Protocol has certainly helped in repairing the ozone layer but still there is a long way to go. According to NASA scientists, the ozone layer is six percent thinner than what it was in 1980. They also mentioned that without the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer would have become 10 times thinner than what it is today. In such a state, there would have been 2 million skin cancer patients every year. These statistics highlight the success rate of Montreal Protocol and the associated rules. According to UN, the ozone layer would recover to its original state by the mid of this century.
Researches are going on in different parts of the world to find more substances that could cause harm to the Ozone layer. Though, Hydrochlorofluorocarbons are considered to be less harmful than CFL’s, researches are going on to find a better and cheaper alternative.
In our later posts, we will discuss about how you could contribute to the repair process of