DENVER, CO – January 9, 2023 – A recent United Nations’ report finds that the Earth’s protective ozone layer continues to heal slowly. The scientists predict that a full recovery will be in about 2040 except over the South Pole where it should heal by 2066. The report was presented on January 9th at the American Meteorological Society conference in Denver. At this rate, 2 million persons are saved from developing skin cancer every year. The United Nations performs a scientific assessment of the ozone layer every four years.
The Earth’s atmosphere protects us from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays which has been linked to skin cancer, cataracts and crop damage. The protective ozone layer in the stratosphere, between 10–25 miles above the Earth’s surface, absorbs most of the harmful ultraviolet-B radiation. However, in 1985, scientists published a paper identifying the depletion of the ozone layer over the South Pole and speculated that this was due to increased levels of halogenated hydrocarbons. This group of gases was commonly used in fire extinguishers, refrigerants and as propellants in aerosol cans. Halogenated hydrocarbons are very stable chemically and remain in the atmosphere for years. In the 1970’s, U.S. chemists found that these chemicals would react with the sun’s harmful rays to produce a chlorine atom which causes the breakdown of large amounts of ozone in the stratosphere.
The United Nations mobilized its member countries to address this potential worldwide health crisis in order to protect human health. In 1987, 46 signatories and 198 nations, signed an international treaty called the Montreal Protocol. Its purpose is to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of chemicals that are responsible for ozone depletion. Every nation in the world has agreed to stop producing these ozone-depleting chemicals. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated that “perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date has been the Montreal Protocol.” This was the first international treaty to address the world’s commitment to global environmental protection. It has become a big ecological victory for humanity. In a prepared statement, World Meteorologic Organization Secretary-General Petterl Taalas said that “Ozone action sets a precedent for climate action.”
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Contact: Dr. Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, email@example.com