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Last Updated : Sep 16, 2020 12:14 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

World Ozone Day: The hole in Ozone layer is healing but there's a challenge coming from China

A report claimed dozens of Chinese companies were still using the banned CFC-11 in the production of polyurethane foam

Representative image
Representative image

On World Ozone Day 2020, we have come a long since the late 1970s when scientists discovered a hole in the ozone layer over the Antarctic, threatening human health and ecosystems.

Such holes are caused by ozone-depleting substances (ODS), often man-made chemicals.

The finding prompted the international community to establish a mechanism for cooperation to protect the ozone layer.


In 1987, an ODS ban was introduced. After almost 35 years, the hole is now healing.

However, while most of the banned gases have been phased out, multiple studies have revealed that there has been an unexpected increase in the production of prohibited ozone-destroying refrigerant trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11) and it is reportedly coming from China.

CFC-11, once used in refrigerators and air conditioners, is one of the chemicals banned under the Montreal Protocol, a treaty to protect the earth’s ozone layer by phasing out all global CFC production by 2010.

CFC-11 in the atmosphere declined substantially until 2012 but has since rebounded.

China ratified the treaty in 1991. In 2018, it said that it has already eliminated as much as 2,80,000 tonnes of annual production capacity of ODS and was speeding up efforts to phase out other ozone-damaging chemicals.

However, a 2018 report by the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) claimed dozens of Chinese companies were still using the banned CFC-11 in the production of polyurethane foam, reported Reuters.

In 2019, China launched a special inspection campaign into 3,000 foam manufacturers across the country and promised to punish any violations of the Montreal treaty.

In a press briefing, Ministry of Ecology and Environment spokesperson Liu Youbin had said that it had paid close attention to the report of unexpected rise in global CFC-11 levels. Its investigation into polyurethane foam makers had so far revealed no large-scale illegal use of the CFC-11 as a foaming agent, but it said enterprises involved in illegal activities had got better at covering up their operations, said the report.
First Published on Sep 16, 2020 12:10 pm