An ozone layer that protects the Earth from ultraviolet radiation is cured by man-made damage, according to a new report from the United Nations.
Experts predict that the layer above the northern hemisphere can be fully repaired by the 1930s and the Antarctic hole will disappear in the 1960s.
The report comes more than 30 years after the signature of the Montreal Protocol, which abolished the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances.
The announcement is "a precious good news for the environment – and proof of what a joint action can do," says Huffington Post.
How did it happen?
Dilution in the shield of the Earth first appeared in the 1970s. At worst, at the end of the 1990s, about 10% of the upper ozone layer was exhausted, according to NASA.
But thanks to a worldwide commitment to eliminate the use of CFC in aerosols and refrigerants, ozone has increased from 1 to 2% annually since 2000, according to the UN report.
"It's really good news," said study co-president Paul Newman, Earth Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. "If ozone-depleting substances were ever increasing, we would see enormous effects. We stopped it."
The Montreal Protocol, awarded as one of the most successful multilateral agreements in history, is attributed to the annual prevention of two million cases of skin cancer by 2030.
But this is not a complete success, according to a study by Brian Toon of the University of Colorado, which was not part of the study. "We're only in a moment when the recovery could begin," the Associated Press said, pointing to some areas of ozone that have not yet been repaired.
Another problem is that the new technology has detected an increase in emissions of banned CFCs from countries in East Asia, AP reports.
Newman agrees that work still needs to be done. "I do not think we can make the winning round until 2060," he said. "That's what our grandchildren will do."