The use of ozone depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) was banned by the introduction of the 1987 Montreal Protocol – an environmental treaty signed by almost every country that banned their production from 2010. The ban has been widely upheld but, in 2018, a study revealed that the concentration of CFCs in the atmosphere wasn’t falling as quickly as expected.
Atmospheric measurements published as part of these studies pointed to illegal CFC production that was occurring in Eastern China. Much of this was attributed to materials used in home insulation. A crackdown on the production of these illegal materials appears has seen a return to delinking levels of ozone depleting CFCs in the atmosphere. This should set the ozone layer’s healing process back on track.
The ozone layer is a thin part of the Earth’s atmosphere that absorbs most of the ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. If depleted, more of this UV radiation is allowed through the atmosphere, causing potential harm to organic materials at the Earth’s surface.