Scientists made a shocking discovery when an expedition to Antarctica in 1986 revealed that the chemicals known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were causing a hole in the ozone layer, which protects the Earth from UV radiation. The stratospheric ozone over Antarctica became dangerously thin. A chemical found in everyday products ranging from aerosol to hairspray was causing this damage that could have endangerd life on Earth.
The Earth’s ozone layer shields life forms from the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This was a message to humanity to conserve Mother Nature in order to protect ourselves. This revelation was so alarming that the whole world came together to reverse damage to the ozone layer.
In two years, world leaders sat together and took the decision to act on it. They signed the Montreal Protocol, which began the phase-out of CFCs. It was a defining moment when countries joined together to repair the damage and ensure a viable future for the next generation.
After 35 years of a global effort, we finally saw light at the end of the tunnel.
Yes, the ozone layer is healing. As nations, we averted an environmental catastrophe. According to a recent United Nations research, the ozone layer will fully repair over Antarctica in around 43 years.
“In the upper stratosphere and in the ozone hole we see things getting better,” said Paul Newman, co-chair of the scientific assessment.
According to the UN study, 99% of banned ozone-damaging substances have been phased out.
We can finally see the Ozone layer coming to its normal, healthy self in the coming decades. This will lower the risk of skin cancer and cataracts in people, as well as protects plants and crops from sun damage and heal the ecosystem.
Over the years many skeptics were complaining about the actions taken and how climate change and global warming were just a diversion.
“Remember when they spent years telling us to panic over the hole in the ozone layer and then suddenly just stopped talking about it and nobody ever mentioned the ozone layer again?” Matt Walsh, an American right-wing political commentator took on to twitter to comment about how “man-made” climate change isn’t real.
While it is true that we have stopped discussing the Ozone layer crisis as often as we used to, and that it has been overshadowed by current events in the mainstream media, this does not mean that we have forgotten about it.
In fact, the thinning of the ozone layer was effectively tackled with global efforts. The Montreal treaty was significant in mitigating climate change. People stopped talking about the Ozone layer because effective actions were taken and we were seeing progress.
The Montreal Protocol will very certainly serve as a blueprint for future climate-related challenges. It has established a precedent for what people can accomplish when they work together to address a global environmental crisis.