In hard economic times, protecting the environment is often seen as a luxury -- or ignored completely. But had that attitude prevailed 20 years ago when it came to taking action to protect the ozone layer, skin cancer rates would have soared and climate change would be even more dramatic than it is today.
"We forget that things could have been far worse without international action in the form of the Montreal Protocol," said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Tuesday as part of the annual World Ozone Day celebration.
And things are bad enough.
A massive ozone hole over Antarctica is making its annual appearance at a near record-sized 27 million square kilometres as measured by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Sep. 13. This is the 25th "anniversary of the hole" and it likely has another 50 to 60 years of life left.
More than one million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year and more than ...