Good news: the ozone layer is healing according to the UN

ozone layer

The hole might be completely gone in about 43 years

Every four years, scientists look at the hole in the Earth’s protective blanket. This year, some good news came out of that assessment. The ozone layer is slowly healing and a report by the United Nations says that the hole over Antarctica will have completely healed in 2066. With that, our natural protection against harmful radiation will be restored. 

Slow but steady

Thirty five years ago, every nation on the planet came to an agreement; to stop producing harmful chemicals that could negatively affect the ozone layer around the earth. This thin layer around the Earth protects us from harmful radiation coming from the sun. And slowly, the ozone layer is healing. According to an earlier report by the United Nations, signs of healing were already present four years ago. Paul Newman, co-chair of the scientific assessment, told PBS that “Those numbers of recovery have solidified a lot.” It will still take a while for the ozone layer to get back to the way it was before 1980. It will take until 2040 for the layer to thicken. The thinnest part, located above Antarctica, will take until 2066 to recover.


Some chemicals are damaging the ozone layer. The most damaging ones are chlorine and bromine. But the levels of these chemicals have significantly lowered since 2000. This means that the atmosphere (the layer of gasses around the earth that the ozone layer is a part of) contains less of these chemicals. This change occurred after the Montreal Protocol in 1987, an agreement between nations that banned the use of these chemicals. Professor Petteri Taalas, World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General, said in a statement that “Ozone action sets a precedent for climate action. Our success in phasing out ozone-eating chemicals shows us what can and must be done – as a matter of urgency — to transition away from fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gases and so limit temperature increase.”

According to an email from Inger Andersen (United Nations Environment Programme Director) to The Associated Press, these new developments concerning the Earth’s ozone layer are “saving 2 million people every year from skin cancer.”

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Source: PBS, National Geographic | Image: Unsplash, ActionVance