The Ozone Layer is the protective layer of Earth. The Ozone shield is a region of Earth's stratosphere that absorbs most of the Sun's ultraviolet radiation, found in the lower portion of the stratosphere. It contains high concentrations of ozone (O3) in relation to other parts of the atmosphere, although still small in relation to other gases in the stratosphere. The ozone layer protects life on earth from harmful levels of ultraviolet rays from the sun. Man-made emissions of CFCs and other chemicals used in refrigeration, aerosols and cleansing agents may cause a significant destruction of ozone in the stratosphere, thereby letting through more of the harmful ultraviolet radiation.
Protecting the ozone layer is very important as UV rays lead to many health problems in humans, including skin cancers, eye cataracts and a reduction in the body's immunity to disease. But now, due to international efforts, the Ozone Layer is recovering. Montreal Protocol (MP), a new assessment report which deals with reduction of ozone-depleting substances, recently, confirmed that the ozone layer is healing. A continuous drop in concentration of ozone-depleting substances has been scientifically proven and reported by the UN Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) in Ecuador’s capital Quito. Next year, the Protocol is set to be strengthened with the ratification of the Kigali Amendment, which leads to the future use of powerful climate-warming gases in refrigerators, air conditioners and related products to be opened. It is expected that the Kigali Amendment will be implemented in 2019 and we hope to see the phasing out of hydrofluorocarbons, which don't contain ozone-depleting chlorine or bromine and are potent greenhouse gases that have been adopted as alternatives for traditional ozone-depleting substances in a range of sectors. Based on the current trend, the scientists indicate the ozone layer should be completely healed over the Polar Regions by 2060, while the damage done over the Southern Hemisphere should be completely erased by sometime in the 2050s. Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2018, shows that the concentration of ozone-depleting substances continues to decrease, leading to an improvement in the layer since the previous assessment carried out in 2014. The latest report indicates that the ozone layer is under repair and highlighted areas are under recovery. The findings provide a ray of hope. It is believed if the Kigali Amendment is fully implemented, we can avoid up to 0.4 percent of global warming in this century.
By: Anuja Arora