The of ozone in the stratosphere. The

The ozone layer is a layer in the earth’s stratosphere which contains a high concentration of a chemical compound called ozone. It is essential for human survival because this layer protects the Earth from most of the harmful ultraviolet radiation that comes from the sun. Ozone layer depletion, however, is the decrease in the amount of ozone in the stratosphere. The cause of ozone depletion can be pinned down to one major human activity; chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Industries that manufacture things such as insulating foams, soaps, air conditioners and plastic containers use CFCs, and it takes around 2 to 5 years for these substances to be carried through the air via the wind cycle, effectively lowering the levels of ozone in the stratosphere. So why is ozone depletion something that we should be more concerned about? Well, if harsh enough, ultraviolet rays have the ability to kill plants and animals, and can also cause skin cancer and cataracts in humans. So essentially, life on earth is only possible because of the protective ozone layer in the stratosphere. This begs us to ask the question, is there anything that can be done about the decreasing ozone levels? Well, this is where the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer comes into play. The Montreal Protocol, for short, is an international treaty that was designed to help protect the ozone layer by eliminating and banning the production of substances that are responsible for ozone depletion (also known as ozone-depleting substances, or ODSs). It was agreed upon on September 16th, 1987, and was officially put into action on January 1st, 1989. Since then, the ozone hole in Antarctica has begun a slow recovery, and overall ozone levels have begun to increase. Climate projections already predict that the ozone layer will return to the same levels it once was in the 1980s sometime between 2050 and 2070 and that by 2035, the majority of ODSs will be completely eliminated. The Montreal Protocol has been said to be “perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date” (Kofi Annan, 2003), thanks to diligent cooperation from all parties involved. As an environmentalist, I believe that putting a protocol whose main goal is to protect the environment into effect will always be a good idea because it is about time that we, as a global community, start to think about the Earth as what it essentially is, a nonrenewable resource. If the environment is not protected and is continually damaged by substances such as CFCs, the ozone will eventually be destroyed beyond repair, leaving life on Earth with little to no chance of survival. Furthermore, I believe that the elimination of all harmful, ozone-depleting substances can have nothing but a positive impact on the environment at large, which is why I believe that the Montreal Protocol regulation should continue to be followed for years to come by all parties involved.