Amid all the bad news about the environment there is one chink of light – the Earth’s ozone layer is healing, scientists say.
And the good news includes the huge hole above Antarctica, which is expected to completely vanish by the 2060s.
According to a UN report, the upper layer of ozone over the northern hemisphere will be repaired by 2030, and the damage over the southern hemisphere will be back to normal by the middle of the century.
The ozone layer’s increasing health has been put down to the 1987 Montreal Protocol – an international treaty banning ozone-depleting chemicals, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), alongside new technology.
It is the layer that shields the Earth from cancer-causing solar rays and the report says it is recovering at a rate of one to three percent a decade.
“The Antarctic ozone hole is recovering,” the report said, “while continuing to occur every year.
“As a result of the Montreal Protocol much more severe ozone depletion in the polar regions has been avoided.”
But the report, from the UN’s environment and world meteorological organisation, said there is evidence of an unexpected increase in CFC-11 from eastern Asia since 2012.
The source of the increase in production and emissions has not been identified.
According to the report, if the CFC output from eastern Asia continues, the recovery of the ozone layer will be further delayed by up to 20 years.