It’s taken nearly 35 years, but there are now signs that the Earth’s protective ozone layer is beginning to heal. Experts have also provided advice on what it will take for a full recovery.

Here’s some awesome environmental news to kick off the new year.

According to a new report, there are signs that the Earth’s ozone layer is on the mend. Based off the latest joint scientific assessment by the United Nations, NASA and the World Meteorological Organization, experts have advised that there is now clear evidence that the once thinning patch of ozone in the stratosphere is beginning to recover. This is vital for the health of the planet, as our ozone layer is a protective shield that helps keep harmful elements, including most of the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation, away from plants, animals and people. Think of it like a sort of planetary sunblock, saving us from harmful cancer-causing UVA and UVB light. Only now it looks like the Earth is headed toward a ‘proper application’ of Ozone, with no spots missed thanks to the effect of regeneration.

The Ozone Is Healing After Years Of Damage

“Our success in phasing out ozone-eating chemicals shows us what can and must be done”.

But how did the damage occur in the first place? After decades of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) use, that’s the aerosols found in refrigerants and spray cans, world leaders came together to announce the Montreal Protocol. This 1989 treaty sought to phase out CFC use in the hopes of repairing the Ozone layer. In fact, reports indicate that the agreement may have helped to reduce our current global warming trajectory by around 1 degree Celsius. Now there are early signs that those global efforts are starting to pay off in a visible way. But in order for the positive trajectory to continue, current restrictions around CFCs and other substances harmful to the ozone must remain in effect. Speaking to the findings of the report and the fruits of our disciplined approach, WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas noted that “our success in phasing out ozone-eating chemicals shows us what can and must be done”.

Picture of the Earth depicting that shows the Ozone layer
The hole in Earth’s ozone layer (in blue and purple), as seen over Antarctica, is beginning to heal. Source: NASA via AP.

Slow But Steady Recovery

After years of monitoring ozone developments, scientists are optimistic that a full recovery of the all-important atmospheric layer could occur within the next few decades. Signs point to repair slowly unfolding across the planet, whilst Antarctica, crucially the worst affected area, should see the ozone layer fully repaired by around the year 2066. These projections are of course contingent on continued climate action, including adhering to existing restrictions and ensuring that no new negative environmental actions take place that could otherwise hinder progress at a global scale.

Not only is this good news for the planet, but it goes to show that environmental issues can be addressed with a collective, global effort. Great things can happen when we put our minds to it and take affirmative action, leading to a positive outcome that will impact every living being on Earth. ∎

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