Over the last few decades, we have made progress in minimising the damage to the ozone layer by curbing the use of certain chemicals. Yet to this date, a large proportion remains to be complete to protect and restore the atmospheric shield in the stratosphere above the Earth’s surface.

Recognition of the harmful effects of CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances led to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1987, a landmark agreement to phase out those substances that all 197 UN member countries have ratified. If it’s not for these stern steps by 1987 today, we might have seen one of the most catastrophic environmental impacts with raising skin cancer and cataracts. Also, scientists predicted if it’s not today, the world would be at least 25 per cent hotter.

More than three decades after the agreement in the 1987 Montreal Protocol, NASA scientists documented the proof that currently, Antarctic ozone is recovering because of the stern actions in 1987. Today many have observed that the Ozone depletion in the region has declined to more than 20 per cent since 2005.

The ozone layer is expected to recover. Many are projecting that it would heal completely in the (non-polar) Northern Hemisphere by the 2030s, followed by the Southern Hemisphere in the 2050s and polar regions by 2060.


The world is not yet recovered from this global catastrophe, especially regarding harmful gases from coolants. Some hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), transitional substitutes that are less damaging but still harmful to ozone, are still in use.


Developing countries need funding from the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund to eliminate the most widely used of these, the refrigerant R-22. The next generation of coolants, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), do not deplete ozone, but they are potent greenhouse gases that trap heat, which in tern contributing to climate change.

On October 15, 2016, 197 countries adopted an amendment to phase down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, Rwanda. Under the agreement, governments are now committed to cutting HFCs’ production and consumption by more than 80 per cent over the next 30 years. 


In the meantime, companies and scientists are working on climate-friendly alternatives, including new coolants and technologies that reduce or eliminate dependence on chemicals.