Imports, exports and the overall consumption of chemicals harming the ozone layer decreased in the European Union in 2016, according to latest annual report on ozone-depleting substances, published by the European Environment Agency (EEA).
The report shows a continuous trend in the phasing out of such chemicals over the last decade.
The EEA report ‘Ozone-depleting substances 2016’ presents aggregated data reported by companies on the import, export, production, destruction, and use of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) in the European Union (EU).
Phasing out the ozone-depleting substances is key to protecting the ozone layer in the Earth’s atmosphere. The ozone layer serves an important function in protecting life on Earth as it absorbs sun’s ultraviolet radiation. This radiation is harmful for the environment and humans, causing for example skin cancer.
Key findings in 2016 data, as compared to 2015 are as follows:
- EU imports of ozone-depleting substances decreased by 15 %.
- EU exports of ozone-depleting substances decreased by 17 %.
- EU production of ozone-depleting substances decreased by 1 %.
- EU destruction of ozone-depleting substances decreased by 26 %.
- EU overall consumption (= production + import – export – destruction) of ozone-depleting substances decreased by 13 %.
In 1989, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer entered into force. Its objective is to protect the stratospheric ozone layer by phasing out the production of ozone-depleting substances. The protocol covers over 200 individual substances with a high ozone-depleting potential, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, carbon tetrachloride (CTC), 1,1,1-Trichloroethane (TCA), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs), bromochloromethane (BCM) and methyl bromide (MB), all of which are referred to as ‘controlled substances’.
The Montreal Protocol was amended to regulate hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in October 2016, in Kigali, Rwanda. Both developed and developing countries have taken on mandatory commitments to reduce production and consumption of HFCs in the next three decades.