Is the ozone layer still being destroyed? How long does it have left? Climatologist, David Phillips answers this question on Ask a Scientist, from Environment and Climate Change Canada and has some good news!
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JOSHUA (Canadian Kid):
How many years do you think are remaining before the ozone layer is completely destroyed?
INSIDE ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE CANADA
ASK A SCIENTIST
DAVID PHILLIPS (Climatologist):
We know that the ozone layer has disappeared in the past, so I remember when they discovered that there was a hole in the ozone layer and that was back in 1985, and people were shocked. Scientists had no idea that this was happening, and they knew what was causing it were these sprays; these aerosols from hair spray and underarm deodorants were causing these gases to eat up the little ozone layer.
You know, if we flew up to the ozone layer, it would be about the thickness of a loonie. Very, very thin. But that layer of air protects us from the bad rays of sun that come in. And when we open up that hole, that layer, it allows those lethal rays to come in and causes problems for people with skin cancer and cataracts, and causes materials to deteriorate, but the good news is it’s improving. That’s really the really great thing. You ask about when it will be, we think it’s going to go the opposite, we think the ozone layer is getting healthy and we see it restoring because we banned those certain chemicals.
So, actually the ozone layer is repairing itself and I think, you know, Joshua, what for me, what’s very important is that people say, “well, the environment you can’t do anything about it, you know… I’m just a little guy in my backyard and I can’t make a difference.” But the ozone layer, we made a difference.
So, I think the lesson there is that we can learn how we’ve improved the ozone layer, and nature’s repaired it because we’ve not produced harmful chemicals. And I think if we do the right thing, then maybe climate change won’t be as difficult a problem. There’s a real positive message from your question for people about the environment.
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