Combined efforts made by the world can achieve miraculous results. This has been proven with a confirmation from NASA and US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that Ozone hole over Antarctica is healing and that it is the smallest observed since 1982.
According to scientists, the largest the hole became this year was about 7.6 million square miles wide in September. But it was still 1.3 million square miles smaller than last year, scientists said and has shrunk more since September.
The ozone layer is vital to the existence of life on earth. It protects the living organisms from harmful UV radiation from the sun. In 1974, scientists had discovered that this layer was getting thinner. The blame for this was placed on human activities.
Increased use of aerosol cans, fire retardants, refrigerators and other cooling devices released excessive chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the atmosphere, which was causing depletion of this natural sunscreen of earth.
The hole was observed right above Antarctica. However, it was spreading rapidly, and the fear of earth losing this layer completely became a definite possibility. This left the global community unsettled.
In 1987, 197 countries came together to figure out an action plan to heal the Ozone layer. The leaders of these countries signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, where they agreed to stop using CFCs and other Ozone-depleting chemicals in refrigerators, aerosols and other factory equipment. The countries agreed to stop the use of these chemicals on a mass scale even at the expense of facing a severe economic backlash. The protocol which was spearheaded by the USA and the UK came into force in 1989 and is still active today.
While this is a great piece of news, it does not compensate for the damage that we have been causing to the environment. The improvements observed today can serve as an inspiration for the global community to come together another time and take bold actions to prevent the impending disasters of the future caused by climate change.