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U.N. hails 25-year ozone treaty for preventing disaster

September 17, 2012
"The Montreal Protocol has prevented a major environmental disaster,"
- Gael Braathen, the World Meteorological Organisation's senior scientific officer for atmospheric environment research

The United Nations treaty to protect the ozone layer signed 25 years ago prevented an environmental disaster, a chief U.N. scientist said, cautioning though that the Earth's radiation shield is still under threat.

The treaty was signed on September 16, 1987, amid growing concern over swelling holes in the ozone layer, which filters out ultraviolet rays that damage vegetation and can cause skin cancer and cataracts.

“We haven’t seen unequivocal recovery yet”

It banned ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbon gases (CFCs), once present in things like refrigerators and spray cans.

Since then, ozone depletion has levelled off, Braathen said, adding though that it would still take a very long time for the ozone layer to recover.

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