It’s 25 years since the Montreal Protocol was signed.
This was a global agreement to phase out the production and use of substances which have been depleting the ozone layer and Environment Minister Amy Adams is celebrating that it is working:
“The ozone layer is now on track to full recovery within this century, thanks to effective global action to reduce the use of ozone-depleting substances in everyday products such as air conditioners, refrigerators, foams, and pesticides,” Ms Adams says.
“It is pleasing that New Zealand manufacturers, importers and industry groups are taking greater responsibility for the safe disposal of potentially environmentally-harmful components in their products.
”A good example of this is the Government-accredited Refrigerant Recovery Trust product stewardship scheme which has collected and disposed of 47,373kg of refrigerants since it was accredited in 2010. This represents a saving of 63,000 tonnes of ozone.
“New Zealand is proud of its role at the forefront of action to phase out ozone-depleting substances. We were one of the countries pushing for a strong agreement on this issue, and we signed the Montreal Protocol on the first day it opened for signature on 16 September 1987.
“In the 25 years since, New Zealand has shown strong commitment to ozone protection and upholding our obligations under the Protocol. We have phased out almost all ozone-depleting substances, many in advance of the minimum timeframes required by the Protocol.
“We are on track to completely phase out imports of Hydrochlorofluorocarbons – the final ozone-depleting substances under the Protocol requiring action by New Zealand – by 2015, well in advance of the international deadline of 2030.
“New Zealand is committed to continuing to work with other countries on global action to combat other important international environmental issues, such as climate change, fossil fuel subsidy reform and the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and their resources.”
The hole in the ozone layer is blamed for the high rate of cataracts and skin cancer caused by over exposure to the sun.
The arrest in its growth and hope of repair is a welcome sign that phasing out the use of Hydrochlorofluorocarbons is being effective.