The Earth’s protective ozone layer that shields all of us from skin cancer-causing solar rays is showing its first signs of recovery.
That is according to a report co-produced by the World Meteorological Organisation and the UN Environment programme.
It is good news for sun seekers and its being put down to the effects of the 1987 Montreal Protocol. It banned or phased out ozone depleting chemicals including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) once widely used in refrigerators and spray cans.
Three hundred scientists are backing the report fronted by UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner:
“The Montreal protocol may already be preventing somewhere around 2 million cases of skin cancer each year and by the end of this of this first century of the Montreal Protocol it could be as high as 100 million cases of skin cancer that have been avoided.”
However the report is cautious. The rapid increase in certain chemical substitutes of the ozone depleting ones are themselves potent greenhouse gases. And although the ozone hole over the Antarctic has also stopped growing it will be another decade before it starts shrinking.