People Might Unlawfully Be Producing the Toxic CFC 11 Again, Which Is Bad News for the Ozone Layer

In 1987, the Montreal Protocol forbid the production and use of several substances that were found to destroy the ozone layer of our planet. One of these substances was CFC 11, whose production stopped completely in 2010. However, after many years, researchers have observed how the emissions of this toxic substance have started increasing again. This means only one thing, namely that someone keeps producing it unlawfully.

What Is CFC 11?

CFC 11 is a strand of chlorofluorocarbons, some highly toxic chemicals. When scientists first discovered them, they thought they were a true achievement for the field of chemistry. However, in 1987, the situation changed. A team of chemists discovered the substances weren’t so marvelous, as they were really harmful to the environment.

They discovered that CFC 11 (trichlorofluoromethane) played a major role in the thinning of the ozone layer. At that time, it was in a really bad state, so environmentalists and scientists were making collective efforts to help it heal. Therefore, they decided to mark these substances as toxic and at least reduce their production.

The Montreal Protocol Banned the Production of Such Chemicals

As a result, in 2010, the same commission made a tough decision for one of these substances. At the time, CFC 11 was the second most produced chlorofluorocarbon of all those mentioned in the Montreal Protocol. Therefore, the unanimous decision was to stop its production completely.

For eight years now, people have thought the production of CFC 11 was non-existent. However, a recent study that appeared in the journal Nature contradicts this conviction. While everyone expected the levels of the chemical to be low, they appeared to be increasing again. Starting with 2012, the CDC 11 emissions were reduced by 50 percent, but things are slowly getting worse.

Comparison between the ozone layer in 2010 and 2011, cfc 11

The CFC Levels Have Slowly Started Growing Again

The levels of the chemical have not suddenly spiked. Researchers are seeing them decrease, but this decrease is happening at a much slower pace. Therefore, researchers have made an assumption. There must be someone that is producing the substance and halting the decline of its atmospheric levels.

Even if CFC 11 was banned completely in 2010, its average levels between 2002 and 2012 quite low. This was the result of the decisions of the Montreal Protocol. However, the levels from 2014 – 2016 have exceeded the previous one by 25 percent. This baffled the scientists, as they are now trying to find the source of the chemical.

Researchers Cannot Tell Where the Emissions Come From

They suspect the emissions are coming from somewhere in Eastern Asia. However, they couldn’t find an explanation. Either someone is producing the substance with a specific purpose in mind, or it might come as a by-product of a different industrial process.

Of course, environmentalists and other members of the Montreal Protocol commission immediately reacted to the situation. First of all, they felt the need to preach the admirable results of the Protocol, as the ozone layer is now in a much better state. Then, they warned every one of the dangers of the CFC 11 emissions.

This toxic substance contributes to a huge part of the ozone layer depletion. This particular chemical produces about a quarter of the total chlorine concentration in the stratosphere. If we worked hard to completely stop the production of CFC 11, then the layer might start recovering more quickly. By going on like this, our planet might suffer serious consequences.

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William E. Eubanks
 

I'm one of the main writers on the site; mostly dealing with environmental news and ways to live green. My goal is to educate others about this great planet, and the ways we can help to protect it.

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