Ozone layer showing signs of recovery
The ozone layer was showing positive signs of recovery, a report presented by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) said.
CSIR atmospheric scientist Dr Thando Ndarana presented the findings of the 2014 World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Scientific Assessment of ozone depletion at the annual International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.
“According to the report … the stratospheric ozone layer is on track to recovery,” CSIR spokesman Tendani Tsedu said.
The International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is celebrated annually on 16 September. The theme for this year’s celebration was “Ozone Layer Protection: The mission goes on”.
He said the 1987 Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer successfully led to a halt in the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as one of its interventions to protect the ozone layer.
“As a result, the ozone layer is expected to recover to pre-1980 levels by the middle of the 2060s,” Tsedu said.
The recovery of the ozone layer depended on the continued compliance of the Montreal Protocol.
Tsedu said the release of chlorofluorocarbons and other atmospheric pollutants were known to deplete the stratospheric ozone and increase human exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation causing skin cancer and cataracts.
“The recognition of the direct effect a depleting ozone layer has on human health was a major motivation to the Montreal Protocol.
“Although the ozone layer is beginning to recover, UV radiation remains a health hazard,” he said.
Tsedu said the ozone layer absorbed some of the sun’s biologically harmful UV radiation. – SAnews.gov.za