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SOURCE: ABC News (Australia)

DATE: May 22, 2019

SNIP: According to a study published today in Nature, emissions from eastern China of the chlorofluorocarbon CFC-11 have been increasing by 7,000 tonnes a year since 2013.

The findings are based on air monitoring stations in South Korea and Japan, which were able to pick up tell-tale plumes of the gas as they wafted across the sea from China.

CFC-11 is used in polyurethane foams that insulate buildings and refrigerators, but its production was supposed to have been phased out by 2010 under the Montreal Protocol. The gas also contributes to global warming.

But research published in May last year using NOAA’s network of air monitoring stations found evidence someone in the world was producing and emitting thousands of tonnes of CFC-11 into the atmosphere.

At the time, the head of the United Nations Environment Program told a New York Times investigation that illegal production of CFC-11 was “nothing short of an environment crime which demands decisive action.”

The scale of that crime has now been quantified.

Measurements and modelling by an international team of researchers has shown an extra 11,000 to 17,000 tonnes of CFC-11 per year is being emitted into the atmosphere.

The ozone layer is Earth’s “sunscreen”, and its thinning due to CFCs makes us more vulnerable to the harmful effects of the Sun’s ultraviolet rays.