The national environmental bureau aims to halve the number of locally made ozone-damaging products by 2005 and to stop their production five years later. The announcement was made yesterday after the State Environmental Protection Administration's ozone-protection team won the 2003 Outstanding National Ozone Unit Award from the UN Environmental Programme. According to officials of the world body's ozone-action programme, the prize recognises the bureau's efforts to cut emissions of chlorofluorocarbon compounds (CFCs), which have been blamed for the depletion of the planet's protective ozone layer. The government has enacted more than 50 regulations to restrict the production of CFC products such as aerosols and coolants. The awards were handed out yesterday to mark the international day for the preservation of the ozone layer. Experts say the ozone hole over the Antarctic is expanding at the fastest rate in 20 years. They warn the hole will soon be more than 30 million sq km. Experts have also noted accelerated ozone depletion over the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. Last week, the Institute of Atmospheric Physics and the Chinese Meteorological Administration jointly launched an unmanned surveillance plane to monitor the ozone layer over Beijing. The depletion of ozone, which blocks the sun's damaging ultraviolet rays, has ben blamed for the growing incidence of skin cancer and cataracts.