The ozone hole is shrinking. The planet’s biggest wound is on the road to recovery

Gli ultimi dati relativi al buco dell’ozono indicano un netto miglioramento rispetto al 2000. Dipeso dalle decisioni ecologiste prese trent’anni fa.

There’s good news for Planet Earth. The ozone layer hole above Antarctica, mainly caused by human activities, is healing, according to the latest scientific studies. This mean that the measures taken under the 1987 Montreal Protocol are paying off.

The ozone hole has shrunk by 4 million square kilometres

The hole in the ozone layer, which extends 20 to 40 kilometres above the Earth and protects us from hazardous ultraviolet rays, appears to have shrunk by at least 4 million square kilometres compared to 2000 levels.

Evidence comes from a study conducted in September 2015 and published in US journal Science. It shows that the portion of layer that has recovered over the past 15 years is the size the United States.

buzo ozono
The ozone hole in 2000 © Newsmakers/Getty Images

“We can say that, globally, the ozone hole shows signs of healing,” said the study’s authors. This is also due to a decrease in human-related chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) of 10-15 per cent, compared to the peaks registered in the early 1990s. This figure has also been confirmed by the latest four-year report of the World Meteorological Organisation and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The decisive impetus of the Montreal Protocol

The Montreal Protocol involved the introduction of progressive bans on the use of CFC gases, largely used in air-conditioning, refrigeration, and industrial processes. According to Susan Solomon, Chemical and Climate Science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), “the adoption of the treaty will allow prevent 2 million cases of skin cancer each year until 2030, as well as numerous damages to eyes and immune system. It will also allow protect wildlife and agriculture”.


Featured image ©Michel Setboun/Corbis via Getty Images

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