Ozone depletion is a slow and steady decline of total volume of ozone in Earth’s stratosphere or ozone layer. Since the late 1970s, and a much larger, decrease in stratospheric ozone over Earth’s polar regions was noticed. This occurred during the same period and mostly during spring seasons. The phenomenon is commonly referred to as the ozone hole. In addition to this, tropospheric ozone depletion was seemed to occur near the surface in polar regions.
Since the ozone layer absorbs ultraviolet light from the sun, ozone layer depletion is expected to cause many health hazards. The ultraviolet rays damage skin. The ozone depletion thus caused an increase in skin cancer. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas, malignant melanoma and cortical cataracts are some of the fatal diseases caused by ultraviolet exposure.
An ozone hole was discovered in Antarctic in 1985. Pursuant to this discovery the governments and international organizations came forward and created Montreal Protocol. This was created in an effort to wipe out the use of harmful chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons, halons and methyl bromide which led to ozone depletion. The U.S. was one of the original signatories to the 1987. Montreal Protocol and the U.S. ratified the Protocol on April 12, 1988. Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 included Stratospheric Ozone Protection. This was to ensure that the United States could comply with its obligations under the Protocol.
The London Amendment entered into force on 10 August 1992, the Copenhagen Amendment entered into force on 14 June 1994 and the Beijing Amendment entered into force on 25 February 2002 provided to protect the ozone layer by taking precautionary measures to control total global emissions of substances that deplete it. Amendments have been carried out by Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) is a partnership program formed to protect the ozone layer. RAD ensures that ozone depleting chemicals are phased out. Certain measures taken by them as a part of phasing out program are destruction of refrigerant and foam; recycling of plastics, metals and glass and disposal of used oil and mercury. The program is formed under the Environment Protection Agency of the U.S. government.