The recent United Nations report, Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2022 said that the Earth’s ozone layer is slowly recovering.
The successful phasing out of banned substances as envisioned by the Montreal Protocol has set the stage for a complete recovery of the ozone layer by the 2060s, a United Nations-backed panel of experts said at the American Meteorological Society’s annual meeting on January 8, 2023.
About the ‘Montreal Protocol’ –
- Signed in 1987, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, is an international environmental treaty for protection of the Ozone Layer by phasing out the production and consumption of man-made chemicals referred to as ozone depleting substances (ODS). The stratospheric ozone\layer protects humans: and the environment from harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
- India became a Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer on 19 June 1992 and since then has ratified the amendments to the Montreal Protocol. Though an approval of the Cabinet, India has also ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol for phase down of Hydrofluorocarbons.
- India has successfully met the phase out targets of all the Ozone Depleting Substances as per the Montreal Protocol Schedule.
About Ozone layer –
- Ozone (chemically, a molecule of three oxygen atoms) is found mainly in the upper atmosphere, an area called the stratosphere, between 10 and 50 km from the earth’s surface.
- Though it is talked of as a layer, ozone is present in the atmosphere in rather low concentrations.
- Even at places where this layer is thickest, there are not more than a few molecules of ozone for every million air molecules.
- But they absorb the harmful ultraviolet radiations from the sun. UV rays can cause skin cancer and other diseases and deformities in plants and animals.
- In the Earth’s lower atmosphere (troposphere) near ground level, ozone is formed when pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources react chemically in the presence of sunlight.
- Surface level Ozone is a harmful air pollutant. It may reduce lung function and make breathing difficult.