Protecting the ozone layer

We must prevent the depletion of the ozone layer

The ozone layer protects life on Earth by efficiently filtering out UV radiation from the sun. Excessive exposure to UV radiation causes skin cancer and eye diseases and also harms the ecosystem.

This vital protective layer is being depleted due to compounds released into the air by human action, the most significant of which are CFCs or chlorofluorocarbons (freons) and methyl bromide. These substances are used in a variety of applications, including propellants, refrigerants, foams, extinguishing agents and pest control.

In Finland, the use, import and export of substances that deplete the ozone the layer is restricted under EU law. Finland is also committed to international conventions that seek to decrease or prevent the harmful effects of these substances. The use of compounds that erode the ozone layer is now prohibited in the EU, with a few limited exceptions.

As a result, the thinning of the ozone layer has been halted, but it will take decades for it to recover from prior damage.

Future challenges for the protection of the ozone layer

Measures to protect the ozone layer have been successful, but further protection efforts are still needed. The protection of the ozone layer faces a variety of challenges, including the warming climate and the environmental effects of substances developed to replace ozone-depleting substances.

The most significant global risks to the ozone layer are:

  1. The strengthening of the greenhouse effect, which may cause the temperature of the upper atmosphere to drop, thereby accelerating the breakdown of the ozone.
  2. Increased use of and emissions from the HFC compounds developed to replace freons HFC compounds are strong greenhouse gases that in the future should be completely replaced with environmentally friendly alternatives.
  3. Emissions of freons stored in devices and products.
  4. Increase in nitrous oxide emissions.

Inquiries

Eeva Nurmi, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 250 209, firstname.lastname@ym.fi

Published 2019-07-03 at 9:52, updated 2019-07-03 at 9:51