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Earth's ozone layer is healing, says UN

When we think of recent news about the state of the environment, it’s usually stories of doom and gloom and the negative effects our on-demand and disposable lifestyles are having on the planet.

But, this week we’ve had the refreshing and hopeful news that the Earth's ozone layer is beginning to heal. The report from the UN details that despite the excessive use of aerosols and other man-made chemicals since the 1970s, the damage is beginning to mend.  

The alarm was first raised about the affect our lifestyle choices were having on the Ozone layer by scientists in the 1980’s. Our use of aerosols and products containing chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) was causing the protective shield, which sits around six miles from earth and protects us from damaging UV light, to become increasingly thinner.  

In a bid to stop further damage the Montreal Protocol agreement was developed. Signed by 180 countries worldwide, members agreed that they would work with businesses to develop alternatives to CFCs and other damaging products.   

Since the agreement the participating countries have worked to alleviate the use of CFCs. The result has seen the upper layer of the ozone layer beginning to repair itself, with scientists predicting it to be completely restored by the end of the  2030s. “Evidence presented by the authors shows that the ozone layer in parts of the stratosphere has recovered at a rate of 1 to 3 percent per decade since 2000,” said the UN Environment and the World Meteorological Organisation.

Many experts are seeing it as a major step forward. "It's really good news," said report co-chairman Paul Newman, chief Earth scientist at Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Centre. "If ozone-depleting substances had continued to increase, we would have seen huge effects. We stopped that."

Last updated: 11/2018

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